163 results for tag: Q & R


Q&R: God in the Old Testament

Question I have one quick theological question (but it may not be a quick answer!). I am trying to read about God in the Old Testament through Jesus revelation that God is nonviolent and non-vengeful. What is your opinion on the destruction of the prophets of Baal by Elijah? Is that just an accommodation of God to man’s expectation? Response I would suggest starting with my book, A More Christlike Word. I don't address Elijah's massacre of the prophets of Baal in the book, mainly because it's not one of the most difficult stories to deal with. I say that because, in that particular story, there is no indication at all that God ...

Q&R with Brad Jersak – “Can we withhold God’s forgiveness?

Question What is your take on John 20:23? "If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Response That's a very difficult verse. Of course, the first part seems easy enough. Up until that point, there was this sense that only God could forgive sin (Mark 2:7), so Jesus' critics were upset when he would announce (in the passive voice), "Your sins are forgiven." They claimed it was tantamount to blasphemy. But note, he didn't say, "I forgive you," but rather, spoke the words as the Son authorized by his Father. Even on the Cross, we hear Jesus praying, "Father, forgive ...

Q&R: Isaiah 45:7 – Does God cause evil?

Question What do you make of Isaiah 45:7? Is seems to say that God is the cause of evil and calamity? KJV: "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." NASB: "The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating disaster; I am the LORD who does all these things." NIV: "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things." ESV: "I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things. MSG: "I form light and create darkness, I ...

Q&R: Intellectually Honest Bible Reading – Brad Jersak

Question I am writing to ask for your expertise, advice and suggestions. Even though I have been studying the Church Fathers, your books and expositions on how to read Scripture “the Emmaus Way” for the past three years, I am still troubled by various OT Testament passages.How do we “ interpret” the Flood Story for example. How do we read the countless rather swift and brutal judgment passages related to the 40 years of Israelites wandering the desert? Whole people groups swallowed up in the ground or burned by fire? Some of the above stories are also mentioned by Jesus, Paul or Peter in the NT accounts. I know this sounds maybe a ...

Q & R – If we’re already forgiven, why strive to be good? Isn’t that salvation by works? –Brad Jersak

Q: If we’re already forgiven, why strive to be good? Isn’t that just “salvation by works”? R: First, let’s examine each phrase of this question.  “If we’re already forgiven”—Yes, indeed we are. As Christ makes clear from the mercy seat of the Cross, “Father, forgive them,” is the once-for-all divine verdict for sinners. Paul concurs in Romans 5 when he says that when we were still sinners and enemies, Christ died for us, justified us and reconciled us to God. “Why strive to be good”—Yes, as much as we believe and hope that our goodness is generated from within, the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5) ...

Q & R – Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? – Greg Albrecht

Q: Should Christians celebrate Christmas? I believe Christ was born, but I haven't read anything in the Bible that says we should commemorate that event! I don't see anything wrong with celebrating Jesus' resurrection, since we know that was in the Spring—but we don't know the date of his birth. And, according to my research, Christmas seems to be a Roman Catholic invention, not a biblical one—and I tend to view anything coming from Rome with great mistrust. A: Perhaps we should define the word "Christmas." For some this word simply means an endless round of parties, concerts, gift giving, decorating, etc. MUST Christians do this? NO. ...

Q&R with Brad Jersak – “No longer counting our sins against us”

Question "For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT) + no longer counting people's sins against them+ no longer counting people's sins against them+ no longer counting people's sins against them+ no longer counting people's sins against them+ no longer counting people's sins against them So, why do we count sins against ourselves and others? If we stopped counting (perceived) sins done by others, would we not then stop counting sins by or against ourselves? And what then does the message or ...

Q&R: Matthew 11:12 – “The violent take it by force” with Brad Jersak

Question Since changing my old perspectives about an angry, vengeful, wrathful God, and a Jesus that retaliates, and on my desire to bear arms to defend myself, could you illuminate for me a better understanding of Matthew 11:12, which I regard as an over-used familiar scripture about "spiritual warfare" and violence? Response Good question. Those Christians who love to pray and identify themselves as "intercessors" or "prayer warriors" often gravitate to the biblical language of "spiritual warfare." Paul uses "battle" and "weapons our warfare" in passages such as Ephesians 6 and 2 Corinthians 10 to make the point that the Christian's ...

Q&R with Greg Albrecht – “How does the Bride of Christ make herself ready?”

Question The Bible says that prior to Christ’s Return, his bride has made herself ready. Since, as you say so often, we are saved by grace, and not by anything we do or produce spiritually, how does the Bride of Christ “make herself ready”? Response The Bride of Christ is of course but one of many New Testament metaphors used to describe the universal body of Christ, and individual Christ followers who, by God’s grace, compose that universal body.  This particular metaphor is one of the most beautiful and enduring.   Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships, and this metaphor describes the intimacy ...

Q & R: What are the Limits of Everlasting Mercy? – Brad Jersak

"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." Genesis 6:3 "For the LORD is good; His loving-kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100:5 "O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever." Psalm 136:1  Question: If God's Spirit "shall not always strive with man" (Genesis 6:3), then what are the limits of God's mercy? David proclaims God's mercy as enduring forever and his loving-kindness as everlasting. But doesn't his patience run out? Doesn't the story of Noah, for example, show that God is ...

Q&R: What is the gospel of the kingdom? And where is it now?

A Conversation Reader: I'm really trying to hone in on simple definitions of "The Gospel" and "Kingdom of God." Do you have a couple of go-to definitions? ​Brad: The New Testament says that Jesus preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom, which he says is “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent [turn around and toward] and believe [trust with your will and your life] the good news [that God loves you and welcomes you to participate]!” What we discover as he continues is that this Kingdom has come near in the person of Jesus, through his ministry of liberation (Mark 1:15). We discover through the Gospels that ...

Q&R with Brad – “Banished to Outer Darkness?”

Question My wife and I are doing our best to understand how the heck to interpret what we read in the Bible, now that we understand that Jesus is our filter. In reading Matthew 22:11-13 there is a curious detail.  Who is this guy and why is he “banished into outer darkness?” The kingdom of heaven can be compared to this story? “Many are called but few are chosen?” Isn’t that separation and not inclusion? Where is the “love” in this story? Response This is certainly a difficult passage when read at face value and in its most immediate context. Let's start there. Some VERY important interpretive keys are missing ...