• Culture,  Ethics

    The Bible and Death with Dignity

    Over the last couple decades there has been a substantial push to accept what has been called “death with dignity.” Many in the culture view death with dignity as the final right of an individual—the right to decide when and how to die. After all, who wants to suffer at the end of life? This is not just an idea that exists in the secular culture. Death with dignity is an idea that is embraced by some who call themselves Christians. In a 2016 Time article, Corrine Johns-Treats wrote an emotional argument advocating death with dignity. In the article, the self-proclaimed Christian concludes by noting, “I think what God was showing me, This is the alternative. This is the peaceful way that I’m granting you to go.” Earlier in the article, rather than attempting to support her ideas with Scripture, she admits, “I think when you look at a personal experience,…

  • Apologetics,  Christian Living,  Culture,  Ethics

    Early Christian Opposition to Abortion

    Honestly, I am not surprised when some people claim to be Christians yet support abortion. I guess I am used to people claiming to be Christians while denying that claim by supporting all sorts of immoral nonsense. It is easy to claim to be a Christian. However, in contrast to many false believers who claim Jesus, real Christians are marked by commitment to Christ and His commandments. Real Christians are committed to the teachings of Jesus (John 13:35; 1 John 2:3) as well the teachings of Scripture as a whole (2 Tim 3:14-17). So, although I have seen my fair share of self-identifying Christians support abortion, I must admit I was a bit surprised recently when I saw a pastor of a megachurch come out and say abortion and Christianity are completely compatible. Of course a Christian analysis of this situation would affirm that abortion remains incompatible with a Christian…

  • Ethics,  Old Testament

    Does the Bible Support Polygamy?

    Anyone familiar with the Bible has had to wrestle with the question of polygamy in the Old Testament. There are numerous examples of polygamy. Some of these polygamous relationships are even practiced by those whom we would consider important people in Scripture. For example, Jacob (a patriarch of Israel) had two wives, Leah and Rachel (Gen 29). Similarly, David, a man after God’s own heart, had multiple wives. These stories give us pause. Why are there faithful Israelites who have multiple wives? Although many would reject polygamy today, some are willing to say the Bible still supports polygamy today. The First Mention of Polygamy Although the Old Testament has concrete examples of polygamy, these are not looked upon favorably in the Old Testament. Where polygamy exists, family strife and difficulty follows. The strife and rivalry between Rachel and Leah is well known to students of Scripture (cf. Gen 29-30). The…

  • Christian Living,  Ethics

    Does the Bible Say Same Sex Attraction is Sin?

    Although some would argue that any same sex relationship is a good thing if it doesn’t harm anyone, in Christian circles there is usually a more clandestine approach to encourage acceptance of the gay lifestyle. This approach says that same sex attraction itself is not a sin, it is following through on the attraction that is the sin. In other words, to be attracted to the same sex is not a sin as long as one does not act on those impulses. In one sense, there is a difference between the gravity and consequences of following through on the attraction, but the real question is whether desires themselves can be sinful? People will often differentiate the issue between orientation and behavior. Some people will say that it is not sinful to be a “gay Christian.” It is only necessary to live celibate. However, there are two significant reasons that same…

  • Culture,  Ethics

    Is it True that Homosexuals are Born That Way?

    How significant is the argument that homosexuals are born that way? And, is it valid? In 2015 the Supreme Court decided that, against millennia of human history and biblical teaching, the definition of marriage should be expanded to include homosexual relationships. The case was Obergefell vs. Hodge, and Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. In his reasoning, he demonstrated that the born that way argument held significant influence on his decision. He argued that it was important to give homosexuals the right to marry since homosexuals are born that way and can’t change. “Only in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.” Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell v. Hodges, June 26, 2015. The key word used by Kennedy is “immutable.” The idea that gay individuals are born that way with an unchangeable sexual orientation was a key driving…

  • Ethics,  Old Testament

    Why is Incest Wrong According to the Bible?

    Although incest is specifically prohibited by Leviticus 18, we often (unfortunately) isolate this text from its foundation. In biblical law it is important to understand the relationship between Law and creation to aid the process of application. In the case of incest, we need to understand that incest is prohibited because of its connection to Genesis 2:24. Tracing the Language of Incest to Genesis 2:24 Leviticus 18:6–18 begins with the introductory phrase, “None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness” (אִישׁ אִישׁ אֶל־כָּל־שְׁאֵר בְּשָׂרֹו לֹא תִקְרְבוּ לְגַלּוֹת עֶרְוָה). This verse functions as an introductory phrase which relates to the entire section on incest. The pertinent phrase we need to consider is “blood relative,” which can be literally translated, “flesh of his flesh” (שְׁאֵר בְּשָׂרֹו). This phrase invokes repetition of a concept which is first mentioned in Genesis 2:24 in the description of the “one flesh”…

  • Apologetics,  Ethics,  Theology

    Can God Love Us and Still Allow Evil?

    Is it possible that a loving God would allow evil? Think about the evil we see all around the world. Rape, murder, death, accidents, suffering—all evidences of evil. If God is in complete control (i.e., sovereign), how can we justify His love when He allows such evil? This is a common argument brought forward by unbelievers. However, it is also a question that believers ask in the midst of suffering and evil. What should our response to this kind of statement? There are three things to remember which help us reconcile this apparent problem of evil as well as provide a proper answer to an unbeliever. 1. God defines love, love does not define God Adam Ford has a helpful Christian comic which illustrates this point brilliantly (see full comic here). We must not let the culture’s version of love form who our God is. The Bible not only reveals…

  • Ethics,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    Homosexuality was Added to the Bible in 1946

    It is becoming more and more popular to argue that the Bible speaking against homosexuality is a recent innovation that was added to the Bible to make Scripture anti-gay. One very common iteration of the argument is that the word “homosexual” was not in any Bible prior to 1946. The implication of such argumentation is that the Bible does not speak against homosexuality, and that the church should therefore accept a gay lifestyle as being compatible with biblical teaching. Those who put forward such argumentation typically point to Luther’s German translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, which uses the word Knabenschänder, or “boy molester” rather than the typical idea of homosexual found in modern translations. Additionally, proponents point to the KJV translation, done in 1611, which translated 1 Corinthians 6:9 as, “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.” It was not until 1946 with the translation of the RSV that…

  • Culture,  Ethics

    Should Christians Use Preferred Gender Pronouns?

    Should Christians use the preferred gender pronouns for transgendered individuals? This is a question which has a variety of answers in the Christian community. Some individuals, like Preston Sprinkle or JD Greear have espoused an approach called Pronoun Hospitality, where the Christian refers to the transgendered individual by their preferred gender pronouns in an effort to show love and kindness. Others have argued Christians ought to use pronouns that match with God’s created intent. How should a Christian think through this issue biblically? At the outset, it should be noted that this is not just a theoretical question. Many individuals have already suffered consequences for deciding they cannot in good conscience use preferred gender pronouns and thus call a female a male or vice versa. There are many examples of this, whether it be a Christian doctor in the UK who was fired for refusing to call a male “madam”,…

  • Christian Living,  Culture,  Ethics,  New Testament

    Avoid Every Appearance of Evil (1 Thess 5:22)

    Growing up I often heard the King James Version rendition of 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” The implication of course was that Christians should avoid even the appearance of evil, not just evil actions themselves. Unfortunately this verse, like many others, has often been misinterpreted and misapplied. English Translations of 1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV Abstain from all appearance of evil. NKJV Abstain from every form of evil. ESV Abstain from every form of evil. HCSB/CSB Stay away from every kind of evil. NIV Reject every kind of evil. NASB Abstain from every form of evil. NET Stay away from every form of evil. Comparing the various English translations, we can see that only the KJV translates this verse as “appearance of evil.” There is a significant difference between “appearance of evil” and “form/kind of evil.” Hence, we note that it is the KJV against the rest of the English translations. Although some would use this difference…