171 results for tag: Q & R


Q&R with Brad Jersak: Is Isaiah’s “suffering servant” Jesus or the Jewish people?

Isaiah 49:7 Question: I was researching Isaiah 49:7 due to the Rabbinical claim that the Suffering Servant is not Jesus, but is actually the Jewish people throughout their history of persecutions. This has always been a nagging doubt to me. It doesn't help that Isaiah 49:7 in some translations says "abhorred by the nations" which sounds like the nation of Israel is the servant, but other translations say "abhorred by the nation" which sounds like Jesus inside of Israel. I was wondering if you could point me towards more info on this topic, because it has re-assured my faith a bit. Response: I sure wouldn't make my faith at all ...

Q&R “Is the Spiritual Realm more Real than the Natural Realm?” with Brad Jersak

Question: How would you respond to the statement, "The spiritual realm is more real than the natural realm"? My home church has been influenced a lot by that theme through certain charismatic ministries. They emphasize spirit over nature and parse out spirit, soul and body in a hierarchy of functioning. It all feels a little too much like Hogwarts. Response: I know exactly what you mean. Similarly, the Catholic priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, once said, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Both these statements affirm something important but invariably over-steer into a ...

Q&R with Brad: “Is reading the Bible through the Gospel ‘eisegesis'”?

Question: Is reading the Bible through the Gospel 'eisegesis'? "What I’m saying is that your criteria for judging a translation is not your linguistic ability or your academic credentials. It is your personal knowledge of who Jesus is, the nature of God as he revealed it, and the gospel he preached." Brad Jersak from "Gospel Before Translation" Brad ... is that not getting a little close to eisegesis? My personal growth is so much dependent on my openness to God revealing things to me about Himself and myself, that are sometimes very challenging of my well-formed, and dysfunctional, personal theology. Response: What a good ...

Q&R with Brad: What does “the one who sins is the one who will die” mean in Ezekiel 18?

Question: Thank you for your Christianity Without the Religion resources. I haven’t been able to find others who will discuss ideas and questions with me as I study the Bible. Would it be too much trouble for someone to give me their perspective on Ezekiel 18? Namely, that "the righteous will live and the wicked will die." All I’ve been able to find in commentaries so far are references to eternal life and eternal death. Response: Thanks for your intriguing question about Ezekiel 18. I'd like to offer a few thoughts that I think will help us understand that text in both its immediate and broader context.  First, if we just ...

Q&R: What do you mean by “transactional” or “retributive” salvation? Brad Jersak

Question I’ve started reading your book A More Christlike God. I’m fully with you. I do get a bit stuck with some of your theological language though. On Facebook, you used the term “transactional retribution.” Can you tell me what you mean by that? Response Yes, on Facebook, I posted this statement: The great "Father’s Heart" revelation continues to face resistance from many of its own esteemed teachers, where it has not yet penetrated their commitment to transactional retribution in their constructs of God, expressed in dogmatic systems of original sin, penal substitution, and eternal conscious torment. So long as these ...

Does Evil Mean God Is Dead? – Greg Albrecht

Question: Given the recent medical issues I face, and given the nature of this unbelievably confusing world to which we have been introduced these past few years, I am having a hard time thinking that God is God.  Sometimes, considering the incredible evil I see and now the suffering I am personally experiencing, in my dark moments I find myself thinking that God is not doing anything – he is not intervening – he is not answering prayers.  At best, he is allowing evil.  But why would a loving God do that?  You say God is not a monster god, and most of the time I believe that, but then I have my moments of doubt.  Do you have any ...

Q&R with Brad Jersak – “You yourselves cast out” (Luke 13:28)

Question: In Luke 13 and the "narrow door" parable, Jesus says in verse 28, "but you yourselves cast out." What is He getting at? Is it what Jesus sees in the questioner verse 23? Passage - Luke 13 22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside ...

When “Every Eye Shall See Him…” The Salvation of the Human Will – Brad Jersak

Question Christ's death saves humanity from hell as a place of eternal torment, but many people don’t realize it and live apart from God. When they cross over in death, I believe all deception will be removed, and they will know the truth. But they can still have the option to accept the gift or not. Then the purification begins. Is that generally right? Response I would personally tweak these thoughts a little bit: 1. You said, "Christ's death saved all humanity from hell as a place of eternal torment." I don't believe Christ saved us from a non-existence place conceived in human imaginations by literalizing biblical imagery ...

Q & R with Brad: Doesn’t Isaiah 59 teach “separation” from God?

Question: Hi Brad,I love the article you wrote on separation/alienation but I am having problems understanding the separation verses in scripture. The specific scripture I had trouble interpreting in light of your article on “separation” was Isaiah 59:1-2. Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. Response: Thanks for your question. In general, "separation" references are best interpreted ...

Q & R: David’s Census – What was God up to? – Brad Jersak

Normally, our Q & R features begin with a reader's question followed by a response from Greg Albrecht or Brad Jersak. In this case, Brad asks the question of one of our readers. Question from Brad In 2 Samuel 24, we read that God was angry with David and therefore incited him to commission a census of his mighty men, so that he could then turn around and punish him for it! It's not that God was angry about the census, but that in God's anger, he incited the census! Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he [God] incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.” ...

Elijah and Fire From Heaven – Greg Albrecht

Question from the United Kingdom: You often make the excellent point that God is not nearly as mad at us as many religious leaders say, nor is he the God of wrath as they so characterize him. I agree, but what’s your take on the story of Elijah calling down fire from heaven to consume army captains and 100 soldiers? If it’s not an act of God, then how did Elijah accomplish this? Response: My take on this story. My faith is centered in and on the Cross of Christ. The symbol of my faith is the Cross, not the ashes of the bodies that resulted from the story related in the first chapter of 2 Kings. I do not wear a symbol ...

Q&R: Why did Jesus only choose male disciples?

Question Do you have any thoughts on why Jesus chose twelve men for his group, but no women in his inner circle? Response Excellent question! The short answer: he didn't! What helps me most on this question is examining the way the disciples wrote each of the four Gospels, noting where they are not identical. I. The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke - written early and at some points similar) do identify a group of twelve men ("the Twelve"). Given the array of other disciples in Jesus' entourage, why these twelve? One reason made explicit in the text is that Christ is creating a conscious parallel to the twelve tribes of ...

What does the Afterlife look like for Unbelievers? – Greg Albrecht

Question: I’ve been reading your site for a few days. I have read your beliefs that God does not punish anyone or turn away from them beyond letting them experience the natural consequences of their actions. In particular, you use the term “hell” to describe depravity and awful environments that humans cause on this earth by turning away from God. You reject the concept of hell as an afterlife of eternal torment for those who did not accept Jesus’ work before their death, and you assert that these unbelievers experience an “afterlife” in which they see God more clearly and still have the opportunity to turn and be welcomed into ...

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 ...