Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Is Ben Shapiro an Antichrist?

A few weeks ago, I heard that a televangelist named Rick Wiles had labeled Ben Shapiro “an antichrist.” I was already familiar with Shapiro, whom as many of you know is a practicing Orthodox Jew. Wiles, on the other hand, was new to me. Most of what I was hearing about him was critical, so I decided to check out his site and get the story straight from the horse’s mouth.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Blessing of Confidence

There are certain segments of Christianity that teach having a relationship with God means having good things all the time. That if you have enough faith, then you can have your dream house, perfect health, a full bank account, untroubled relationships, and any number of other things. I do not think there is anything necessarily wrong with wanting, or even praying for, these things. They are a blessing from God. The problem comes when we put them first and when our faith depends upon them.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Can Salvation be Lost?

This article may take us into contentious waters since it is an issue on which sincere believers in Christ sincerely disagree. While I am going to take a side, I want to say first that anyone’s position on it does not determine the validity of his or her faith. If we further discuss it, I hope we can all keep that in mind. Second, and in relation to that, we need to be on the lookout for unifying themes that overcome our division. That is what I intend to do, especially in closing.

Friday, May 10, 2019

How To Get Started with the Bible

Today’s question seems simple enough, but it presented me with some challenges. I was asked,

How do I read the Bible?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What Caused God?

The internet can be a wonderful thing for connecting people. Case in point, this question was sent in by someone living in West Africa:

Friday, May 3, 2019

Is Acts Accurate?

This time, we’ve got a great question that required a deep dive but ended up with a nice, straightforward solution. I was asked,

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Psychics Aren't the Answer

I recently overheard a troubling conversation that I feel compelled to discuss, especially because I am concerned I did not make the most of the moment. Frankly, I am not sure I made a mistake. I will spell out the details and allow you to decide. But at the very least, I hope to learn from my situation and that others will also be better prepared as a result.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

What's With the Bunnies?

With the Easter season just passed, we have a good question from a young person. He asks, “What do rabbits have to do with Easter?”

Friday, April 19, 2019

How Do I Get to Heaven?

What do you think you have to do to go to heaven? Do you feel like you deserve to be there when you die? That’s a trick question, as I intend to show. Sadly, many people spend their whole lives trying to answer it. If that describes you, stop. The first thing we need to know, the first element of salvation, is knowing that we cannot achieve it. Nothing you can do will get you there, and you can never deserve the blessings of God (Rom. 3:23).

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019

"C'mon, It's 2019"

If you spend much time on the internet, there is a good chance you have heard a comment like the one in the title of this article. It is among the most common, and sadly, most effective forms of criticism in secular culture. If you espouse a classical (especially a Christian) morality, then you stand a chance of being told this.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

More Than a Feeling

Someone recently sent me a great question on a topic where Christians have been dropping the ball too often over the past few generations.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Don't Deny Yourself

That’s a clickbait-y title and it might not make it to the end of the editorial process, but it felt like a good place to start. A frequent impression you get from people who are not interested in Christianity is that their lives are good enough as it is. If Jesus is your answer, good for you, but they don’t need Him. That has a number of implications for the witness of the church, but the particular one I have in mind is how it relates to behavior and enjoyment.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

For the Survivors

A few weeks ago, I did a piece on abortion and the proper Christian understanding of it. After I published it, I was asked to do something similar in regard to assisted suicide. The series that followed delved into the nature of human life, the philosophy behind the push for legalized assisted suicide, the theology of the sanctity of life, and the implications of the debate.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Our Words and God's Light

As I have noted on a few occasions, Christian education is a careful balancing act. Everyone is going to have an emphasis, but lean on it too hard and you are likely to miss important truths of the faith. Or even if you know them yourself, you might not repeat them as often as you should.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Function of Fear

 While I continue to build the Quest Forums ministry, I am also currently working for a local Christian bookstore. My commute has a number of churches along the way, most of which of course have marquees by the road. As I’m sure you have noticed, many churches like to use these signs to share a note of encouragement or comedy. They want to quickly grab people’s attention as they drive by, hopefully making a thought stick and compelling them to come in at some point. Done right, it can be an effective way to scatter evangelistic seed.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Storm Watching

The last twelve months have had some especially wild weather. I’m sure we all remember the devastating wildfires in California and the hurricanes that hit the southern United States. But even my little corner of the world has had unusual struggles with the elements since last spring. We had record precipitation in 2018, flooding and landslides throughout the year, extreme temperature fluctuations this January, and a freak windstorm a few weeks ago that downed trees and left hundreds without power for days. Those are just a few examples to illustrate the point that nature has seemingly turned against us. And of course, each event big or small is illustrating how our infrastructure is having trouble keeping up with the damages.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Revealed in the World and the Word

As you may know, the theological term “revelation” refers to the knowledge that God has given to humanity describing Himself. But that definition can be broken down further into two particular types: general revelation and special revelation. When discussing God’s love and care for us, it is important to have each of them in mind. David apparently agreed, because he wrote Ps. 19 as a testament to both.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Simply Impeccable

 The premise for Quest Forums is that everyone has questions, and I mean that when I say it. I don’t ask people to send me questions because I have all the answers. I do it because we all have different areas of attention. I’ve been able to study theology, but obviously, that study does not mean I have learned everything. I still have questions of my own. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask a few of someone with much more expertise than me.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Defining Indoctrination

When you see the word “indoctrination,” what first comes to mind? The answer is probably a little different for everyone, but I am almost certain it has a negative connotation. It’s an interesting example of how words can take on additional meaning as time passes. It originally just meant “to teach,” drawing on the same root word as “doctrine” and “doctor.” In fact, the first dictionary definition is still “to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments.” But we all know now that it means to fill people’s heads with bad ideas, especially children.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Two Types of Atheism

 I read a comment on Ps. 10 recently that struck me as a little odd. The pertinent portion is Ps. 10:2–4, 11, which says,

In arrogance the wicked relentlessly pursue their victims;
let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
For the wicked one boasts about his own cravings;
the one who is greedy curses and despises the Lord.
In all his scheming,
the wicked person arrogantly thinks,
“There’s no accountability,
since there’s no God.”…
He says to himself, “God has forgotten;
He hides His face and will never see.”

Monday, March 4, 2019

Assessing Assisted Suicide: Addendum

This article could have possibly been a “Part 5,” but I feel like it is more of a postscript than an actual part of my larger discussion on assisted suicide. That series has a solid conclusion, but this is just another way to chew on the issue. Plus, it is also separated by the fact that what I want to talk about here can be widely applied. It has to do with a number of issues, not just end-of-life ones.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Assessing Assisted Suicide: Part 4

With this article, my series on assisted suicide comes to a close. We have seen that it is a Christian responsibility to be mindful of suffering, but that God’s truth must ultimately guide our response to it. We have also seen what happens when life comes to be viewed as a commodity rather than an intrinsic good. The argument for assisted suicide wraps itself in the language of compassion, but as it is logically extended, it ends in heartless tyranny.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Assessing Assisted Suicide: Part 3

In the first two articles in this series (which you can find here and here), we looked at the symptoms of ALS, the disease most often used to justify assisted suicide. Specifically, we considered the case of Geoff Whaley, whose recent illness and death have caused debate to flare up in the United Kingdom. While his pain is understandable, his response to it helps to show the warped worldview of those who see suicide as a viable option. The second post explains the differences between the secular pro-death and the Christian pro-life views. Now I want to spend some time with the results those views produce.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Assessing Assisted Suicide: Part 2

My previous article began a multi-part consideration of assisted suicide and the Christian approach to those suffering enough to want it. As a reminder, it is vital to keep that suffering in mind when discussing this issue. People are in pain, and we cannot ignore it. However, while it may explain their desire, it does not justify it. At least, it is not justified from a Christian perspective. And if we hope to resist it, we need to understand the mindset that attempts to claim it as a right.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Assessing Assisted Suicide: Part 1

Recently, I posted an article on the biblical foundations of the pro-life movement as it relates to abortion. A friend asked me to follow up on that with a discussion on assisted suicide, particularly in regards to the ongoing debate in the United Kingdom, and in reference to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). I love getting questions rather than focusing on my own interests, so I am certainly willing to do it.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Contemplating a Sanctified Hypocrisy

TL;DR

Can hypocrisy be a good thing? This is an attempt to see if it can be viewed that way. Whether you can find that angle or not, Christians need to know that their failures do not mean their attempts to be holy are fake. What matters is whether we are trying to grow. If we are, then that is a reason to be encouraged.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Memory of a Truth Spoken

TL;DR

This article recalls a time from my childhood when I challenged the faith of a young Catholic. I do not remember exactly how I went about it, and it may have left something to be desired. But he was under the impression that Mary was God, so I do not regret having told him otherwise. We shouldn't offend people just for the sake of being offensive. But sometimes, if we are being faithful to God's truth, we might wind up offending them for their own sakes. It is good to be as tactful as we can, as long as that does not keep us from offering what they need to hear.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Praying for the Little Things

TL;DR

Sometimes, it is the smallest things that stick with you in the biggest ways. For me, one example of that is the answering of a childhood prayer. It was for something insignificant, but it taught me that God cares about even the minutest details of our lives. And if He looks after the little, He certainly presides over the bigger moments, too. The impact of that experience on my life has been deep, and I hope sharing it proves to be an encouragement to others.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Value of Life

TL;DR

Christians can be discouraged by setbacks on the front of protecting life, but not to the point of complacency. We need to realize that there is still progress to be made, even if it is only a little at a time. We also need to know why we are fighting. Unborn life has value because of the nature we all share. It comes from God, and is not ours to dispose of as we see fit. That truth has biblical foundations we need to know. It strengthens us to keep moving forward and equips us to show the evil of abortion for what it really is.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Reason and Emotion in the Christian Life

TL;DR

People are on a sliding scale between the rational and the emotional, but each of us tends more toward one side or the other. That is not a bad thing, but it can become a problem if we let it. There needs to be cooperation in our faith between timeless truths and deep feelings. Otherwise, we cannot fully live the life to which God calls us.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Myth of Apollonius and the Reality of Jesus

TL;DR

Attempts are occasionally made to link Jesus to other Ancient Near Eastern itinerant teachers. An example of such a supposedly comparable figure is Apollonius of Tyana. Sometimes the goal is to show that another teacher is superior to Jesus, but usually, the aim is more skeptical. The comparison is made in order to show that Jesus is just a myth borrowed from other myths. Christians need to know the history of the early church and of the composition of the Bible. The truth is the best response to claims of fabrication.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Is a Christian Card Game a Good Idea?

TL;DR

Someone out there has an idea for a Christian card game, but he is worried. Many games in this style have occult influences. Will people who find his game eventually be drawn to those? If so, should he give up on the project? I would say no. There is a risk that people will pervert the truth, but even so, we have a responsibility to share it. A new way to do so for an underserved community is a valuable thing. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Christian Chameleons

TL;DR

Chameleons have an amazing ability to change the color of their skin in order to better fit their circumstances. Christians also have the potential to change the way we look to the people around us. Sometimes it is a bad thing, and we must learn to avoid hypocrisy. But sometimes it is a necessity. We must be able to alter the ways we present the truth in order to be able to reach people with it. So the chameleon is a cautionary tale or a role model, depending on which aspect you have in view.

Friday, January 18, 2019

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

TL;DR

The description of Jesus' ascension in Acts 1:9–11 is packed with comfort and challenge. Because we know that Jesus is alive, we know that we have life in Him and that He is coming back for us. Since He is, we have to complete our mission of telling the world about Him. Christians should keep one eye above to seek His return and another below to stay focused on the work He calls us to do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

What Tier is Jesus On?

TL;DR

A recent game depicts the deities of a number of religions literally fistfighting for supremacy, and Jesus is included in it. The idea is absurd on its face, but the absurdity is an attempt to make the point that all religion is equally silly. That argument would need to show that Jesus is equal to all other gods, though. Since He surpasses them, it is merely insulting rather than being challenging. The game, and the philosophy it is based on, are worthless as a result. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Reclaiming the Lord's Prayer

TL;DR

Maybe I am alone in this, but I sometimes get the feeling the Lord's Prayer is practically forgotten in evangelical churches. Maybe we are so concerned about using it in ways Jesus did not intend that we forget to use it at all. That should change. Our Savior gave us an outline for prayer, and we should use it. Understanding the concepts in it and applying them to our devotions are invaluable to deepening our relationships with God.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Ongoing Ministry of Jesus

TL;DR

The phrase “All that Jesus began to do and teach” from Acts 1:1 is a valuable reminder for us that Jesus did not stop working when He ascended to heaven. He continues to act through His body, the church. When things seem too big for us to take on, we should feel encouraged and empowered by the fact that our Savior is still changing the world.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Infinite Forgiveness Requires an Infinite Savior

TL;DR

Following up on a concept mentioned last week, it is important to realize that the infinite forgiveness offered through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is only possible because He is Himself infinite. It is not enough for Him to have been sinless, though that was also necessary. But His existence and power must also be without beginning or end in order for God to keep His promises of unlimited love.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Hope for the New Year

TL;DR

New Year's Day is a chance for us to look back and to dream forward. That is well worth doing, but we must remember not to allow our sense of joy to be tied to the wishes we make now. It is far more important to fix our minds on the new world God has promised to share with us, and on the new life He shares with us now. That hope does not change regardless of our circumstances. Whether this year is good or bad, nothing in it can defeat the Lord's plan to eliminate death and suffering for those who come to Him through Jesus Christ.