Ethical decisions are a part of everyday life, and it is incumbent upon Christians to make moral and ethical decisions based upon the teaching of Scripture. Some of these decisions seem very easy; for example, murder, lying, and stealing are wrong, and truth telling, mercy and sacrifice are good. As clear as those seem to be, real life experiences, recorded in the Scripture or lived out today, can create some nuances that becloud the issue.
For example, confusion can arise when a certain act that is condemned in Scripture has features similar to other acts that are not condemned and because of the similar features between that which is condemned and that which is not, the two acts are unjustifiably equated as being the same. An example of this would be the difference in being a martyr and committing suicide.
In The Round Table in Ethics, I have noticed a few things that tend to create confusion for Christians trying to understand and apply biblical ethics. This primarily revolves around making similar acts identical and/or equating God’s commendation of some elements of an event with God’s implied approval of all the elements of the event even when those elements are without exception said to be sin everywhere they are explicitly mentioned in Scripture. An example of this would be lying.
Consequently around the third week of Ethics, I present something I call “Ethical Considerations and Clarifications”. In this presentation I seek to address some distinctions that can be helpful in avoiding ethical dilemmas. The issues addressed in this paper do not address every relevant issue, but only those that seem to present problems when considering various ethical issues in The Round Table. I address the relationship of similarities and dissimilarities, the difference between intrinsically good or evil acts and extrinsically good or evil acts, the Is Ought fallacy, the Sin of Omission, arguments from silence, and then I explain what a lie is. Continue reading →
It is undeniable that some Americans just wish Christians would disappear from the public square. Since that is hopefully not going to happen, they spend most of their time and effort arguing that while it is ok to believe in Christ and the Bible, Evangelicals should not bring their faith into the public marketplace of ideas, e.g. politics, education, law….They do not mind our religious faith as long as it is a private faith, and only practiced alone with other like-minded people.
A study released May 7, 2007 by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research once again confirmed the bias against evangelicals that exists on university campuses.
“Among non-evangelical university faculty, 53 percent… said they held an unfavorable view of evangelical Christians while expressing positive feelings toward most other religious groups. One professor said he attributes the disdain for evangelicals to their Republican Party activism and their perceived opposition to science.
Gary Tobin, the institute’s director and chief pollster, said the results undoubtedly reveal “bias and prejudice” among the nation’s educational leaders. Tobin told The Washington Post, “If a majority of faculty said they did not feel warmly about Muslims or Jews or Latinos or African Americans, there would be an outcry.” He goes on to note, “No one would attempt to justify or explain those feelings. No one would say, ‘The reason they feel this way is because they don’t like the politics of blacks or the politics of Jews.’ That would be unthinkable.” Tobin further found “that 71 percent of faculty members agreed with the statement: This country would be better off if Christian fundamentalists kept their religious beliefs out of politics.” (( http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=25660)) Continue reading →
As Christians we are often confronted with questions concerning the trustworthiness of Scripture. For example, someone may say, “It must have mistakes since it was written by men” or ask “how can the Bible be accurate when there are so many translations?” They may point out what they see, or have been told, are unresolvable problems like “how did Noah get and keep all those animals on the ark” or the differences in the various gospels account of events in Christ’s life. They may say, “men determined what books would make up the Bible” which implies that the Bible is merely a human book.
The following is a list of books to help you learn the answers to such questions and be able to have a more mature understanding of the trustworthiness of the Scripture. I have also included a book to help you learn how to study the Scripture.
Continue reading →
As you probably have heard, I am going to be a participant again in the Oxford Round Table this summer. This time it will be held at Harris Manchester College in Oxford. I will be presenting a paper entitled, “The Decline of Religion in Public Education and The Decline of Public Education”. As a part of my presentation, I included an argument in support of the validity of “religious arguments” in the public marketplace of ideas like education, politics, law and morals. Although I am not quite through with the argument, I thought I would share it with you before I leave on vacation.
As you know, I am a strong proponent of Christians going into the public domain and presenting “the truth in love”. Hopefully, the following will help you be better equipped to do that in even the most secular of forums.
Secularists summarily dismiss religious arguments from the public square simply because they are religious, which they define as being associated with supernatural religion or anything non-secular. In addition, an opinion is determined to be religious and therefore unworthy of public policy because it is either a part of a religious worldview, is derived from one’s religion, there is an element of faith involved, it is partly based on religion, or because it is merely consonant with religion.
The context of the discussion concerning the appropriateness of religious arguments and their influence upon public policy may be considered from the vantage point of historical precedence, constitutionality, morality and rationality, or spiritual mandate for adherents. The following is intended to addresses only moral and rational considerations. Thus, the question is, “Is it moral to exclude religious opinions from a democratic public marketplace of ideas just because they involve an aspect of faith—a faith assumption?” For the following reasons, my answer is NO. Continue reading →
Francis J. Beckwith, a wonderful Christian apologist and former President of The Evangelical Theological Society, has taken his stand with the Roman Catholic Church. I have just a few comments.
Dr. Beckwith is an outstanding Christian scholar, and from what I know about him, quite a gentleman. Consequently, my comments are not intended to be an attack upon the man, but rather his decision and concerns I have with the ETS and Baylor University. Continue reading →
Christians’ opinions about war cover the continuum from pacifism to patriotism—from no war to any war for the homeland. I think both positions are based upon selective use of biblical teaching.
It is true that God’s perfect world did not have war; however, it is incorrect to conclude from that truth that God is therefore against all war—e.g. a pacifist. We know that God is not a pacifist since He actually led Israel into war e.g. Jericho, Joshua 6; Ai, Joshua 8.
It is true that war is a dreadfully horrid situation. It is the most dreadful of conditions one can imagine except for tyranny and hell; unfortunately, the reality is that in a fallen world it is, at times, the only way to prevent would-be despots from imposing totalitarianism upon every man woman and child. Tyrants view humans as a means rather than an end; consequently, it is perilous indeed to believe that such a malevolent mind could value humane agreements or treaties beyond what is self-serving. Continue reading →
When anyone sees two young men riding bicycles and wearing white shirts and black ties, he can be almost certain that the Mormon missionaries are spreading the message of Mormonism.
Generally, Mormons are well educated and hard working as well as being fairly knowledgeable about Mormonism. Often times, they are even more knowledgeable about how to confound the average Christian with seemingly inexhaustible quotes from their authoritative books—including the KJV—apostles and prophets of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
I have read that as many as forty percent of Mormons come from a Baptist background. The reason for this is because that while Baptists are known for being “people of the Book” meaning the Bible, they are all too often inadequately familiar with “the people of the Book”; thus, they are fitting prey for the Mormon Missionaries who seek to convert Christians from being “people of the Book” to “people of the books”, which includes all of the Mormon writings.
In order to speak the truth to Mormons, and not be lured into the cult by their cunning ways, Christians must be armed with the truth of Scripture and an understanding of Mormonism’s doctrines, falsehoods and tactics.
The following documents were designed to equip Christians to engage Mormonism with the truth. Continue reading →
Undeniable should not be taken to mean that no one denies Christ is God. One only has to look into the halls of academia, walk the corridors of cults, listen to the mantra of atheists and agnostics, or scan the pages of antiquity to find a plethora of individuals all too willing to deny that Jesus Christ is God incarnate; however, the deity of Christ is undeniable if the pages of Holy Scripture are allowed to speak.
Although one may not fully comprehend the declaration of Scripture concerning Christ being fully God and fully man in one person, it is undeniable that it is proclaimed in Scripture. But even the lucidity of Scripture regarding the nature of Christ does not bridle the pride of cults in seeking to strip Christ of His deity and none more formidably so than the Jehovah Witnesses.
They have gone to great lengths to explain away every Scripture that clearly teaches or implies the full deity of Christ. They have done this in the voluminous writings of the Watchtower, their “New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures” and “The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures”.
If you want to arm yourselves with the knowledge of what the original languages actually say concerning the deity of Christ and how JW have meticulously mistranslated all of the verses that teach Christ’s deity, I encourage you to study the following two documents. Continue reading →
Of course this is the age old question that is asked by virtually everyone at some time over the course of their life. It may be a mother whose child died tragically, the philosopher who denies the existence of God or the solider who fought valiantly only to be rejected by the people he risk his life to protect.
Some people look at the world full of natural calamities, war, hate, child abuse, divorce, innocent lives taken through the neglect of others…and the seemingly endless prospering from evil and conclude that there is no God; or if there is He does not care about me.
The following notes were used in a presentation that I did on this subject, which I think will answer the problem of evil better than concluding that there is no God or that God does not care about you. Continue reading →
Recently, The Roundtable in Theology at Trinity Baptist Church demonstrated how antagonists compare Genesis chapter one with chapter two and as a result, portray Genesis one as mere poetry, fiction, or myth—anything but historical prose.
At times this contradictory relationship is due to simply misunderstanding the nature of Genesis one and two, but often it is premised on the belief that the Scripture is not totally reliable, or to be taken as normal prose in Genesis one. This is almost always based on the presupposition that evolution is true and Genesis one and two must be interpreted in light of that rather than beginning with Genesis and interpreting evolution in light of the Biblical account.
Ignoring the full breadth of the significance and purpose of chapter two is a glaring omission that leads to the conclusion that Genesis one and two are incompatible. As a result of this conclusion, Christians are drawn into defending the trustworthiness of Genesis one and two based upon an unintended and indefensibly narrow purpose.
The following article is intended to demonstrate that the purpose of the construction of chapter two is not only to elaborate on chapter one, but to connect chapter one to chapter three, and thereby transition the narrative forward in the unfolding account of man. Chapter two, as constructed, is essential to communicating the full understanding of man’s beginning in a perfect garden, followed by the fall, the curse, the flood…and the full chronicle of God’s grace and provision of redemption for man as revealed in the following pages of Scripture. Therefore, the omissions and additions of chapter two compared with chapter one are based upon this expanded purpose, and when understood as intended, do not conflict with chapter one. Continue reading →