This will be a forum for sending in your questions about the Bible, theology, religion, etc. I'll answer any questions to the best of my ability and if I don't know the answer, I've got access to some of the greatest theological minds in the country (my professors). And, no, you don't have to give me a dollar to ask a question. J

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Q: Christians insist that the only way anyone can go to heaven is to believe in Jesus like you do. What kind of hateful God would send people to hell just because they don't believe a certain way? That doesn't seem very fair.

A: You are correct when you say that God isn't fair...and we are certainly lucky that He's not. God is perfectly good, perfectly holy, perfectly just. There is nothing in Him that is not perfect, pure, and righteous. Yet, we humans are sinful, selfish, and full of pride. Our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

If God were fair, we would all spend eternity apart from Him. We would all go to hell. That is what we deserve. Yet, because God is not fair, He had mercy on us and showed us His grace. He sent his only Son, Jesus, to become flesh and dwell among us (John 1:14). Although He was perfect and never sinned (Hebrews 4:15), Jesus died a horrible, painful, humiliating death to pay for your sins and my sins, so that we could have eternal life-- so that we wouldn't have to be punished for eternity, in the absence of God. Thank GOD He's not fair. Put your faith in Him and He will forgive your sins and wash you whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7). That's not fair. That's God's grace.

Q: In Matthew 25:21, it says, "you have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things" How will you respond when you receive hundreds of thousands of $'s from your Web Page?
-Hardly A. Anonymous

A: I'll assume you're joking about "when I get hundreds of thousands of dollars." The site hasn't been a flop, but I certainly won't have a huge sum of money on my hands with the accompanying moral dilemma of how best to spend it. I will give all the money I get from this site to my Seminary for tuition.

The scripture to which you refer can be interpreted as strictly having to do with money, but I lean toward a broader interpretation. The "parable of the talents," as it is known, has historically been interpreted as referring to our God-given gifts and abilities (in fact, the English word "talent" comes from this parable- a talent was originally a unit of weight used for measuring money). So, whether we're talking about money, power, or abilities, the more we have, the more God expects from us. And the better we do with what we have, the more we'll be given.

Q: Why don't Christians accept what science tells us? Christianity denies all of the findings of science that make the world a better place than 500 years ago. Don't you think it's kind of ignorant to hold onto this fairy tail "god" when science has proved that Evolution is responsible for the earth????
-Dan H

A: Whoa, that's a lot of question marks in a row-- four in fact! They bring with them a great logical force. (That was sarcasm by the way). Your question assumes that Christianity does "deny science." This is simply not the case, so your question is an invalid one. Certainly, there are some Christians who would like to deny science because they think it's "evil," but they are the exception, not the rule. There are many ways in which the Bible confirms science.

As far as evolution is concerned, be careful that you don't assume that:

  1. Evolution is a proven fact or
  2. All Christians deny Evolution.
Remember, Evolution is a "theory": one way in which some scientists think the many species of animal may have come about. Many Christians use the Bible to argue against evolution. Some claim that evolution is impossible from a logical standpoint. Others simply say that evolution can't be right because it contradicts the Bible. Some make a case for the world being only 6,000 years old (a common figure reached by adding together the ages in biblical genealogies). Others claim that God created the world 15,000 - 30,000 years ago.

Still others see no problem at all in harmonizing evolution with the Bible. There are even those who claim that the order in evolution proves God's existence! These people generally see Genesis 1-11 as metaphorical language, rather than literal. I tend to believe that God created this world out of nothing less than 15,000 years ago. What's important, though, is not when He did it, but that he did it. And even more amazing is this: the God who created the entire universe loves you. Give that one a minute to sink in.

Q: I was wondering if you had to have a college degree to enter the seminary. I want to get a bachelors someday, but I would prefer to be ordained as a diocesan priest first.
Also, I was wondering the type of classes you take in the seminary and basic routines. Thanks
-El Maestro

A: Thanks for the question. My seminary does require a bachelor's degree to enroll (I got mine in Religion). The reason for this is that the degree which most pastors get (an MDiv) is a masters degree.

However, it sounds like you are a Roman Catholic. Although they offer advanced degrees, most Roman Catholic seminaries don't require you to have a bachelors before you start. As a result, though, the seminary process takes longer. If you're interested in the steps to being ordained a priest, check out this link.

As far as what you will study, it will differ a bit from my program at Grand Rapids Baptist, but the basics are the same: theology, Bible, philosophy, church history, Greek and Hebrew (and you get to pile Latin on top of that, you lucky dog!) Also, you may need to relocate in order to attend seminary. To find a seminary, follow this link.

God bless you as you follow Christ's call in your life!

Q: Okay, I believe in God, and Jesus, and all that stuff. A few years ago, I didn't. I went into the army and that’s where I started to go to church. One day, I was at bible study, and the leader guy was like "Let Jesus into your hearts and you will feel his presence. All you have to do is ask for him." So I did. And I don't feel anything. Two and a half years later, I still don't feel anything. I know they're up there somewhere, but why I can't I feel them in my heart? That sounds so cheesy… But thanks for listening!

A: This is such a great question, Erin. A lot of people are thinking the same thing you are. They're just too ashamed to say anything about it. I have heard so many people confess that they are pretending to have these huge emotional highs (high on Jesus... hmmmmm..), when really they don't feel it at all-- Or if they do, they have to whip themselves up into a frenzy through emotional manipulation and then convince themselves that what they're feel is really Jesus.

The good news is that the problem isn't you. The problem is the current Christian pop culture in America. The atmosphere in the church changes from generation to generation, as one generation reacts to (and rebels against) the previous generation's brand of Christianity.

Currently... we are seeing a Christian culture that insists that:

  1. The way to be saved is to "ask Jesus into your heart" (sometimes appended with the buzz-phrase "as your personal savior"). There's even a somewhat-standardized prayer, often called the "sinner's prayer" that one must recite in order to be saved.
    The problem with this is that it isn't found in Scripture. Jesus and the Apostles didn't say to recite the "magic prayer" to be saved. They said to put your faith in Jesus (
    Romans 10:9). If a person really repents of their sins and places their faith in Him, a sinner's prayer will pour out of them in a way that no one could plan. And Jesus doesn't want to live in your heart any more than he wants to live in your eardrum. He wants to be Lord of your life.
  2. The way to know you're saved is by how saved you "feel." This is a flat-out lie. Our culture is so touchy-feely and worried about emotions that we've reduced Jesus to another drug that gives us chemical sensations in our brains. I look at it this way: God offered Noah a way to escape the flood--the ark. Noah and his family were saved when they got in that boat and closed the door. Even if they didn't "feel" saved, they were. God offered us a way to be saved--Jesus. Even if we don't always feel him down in the cockles of our hearts, if we believe in Him, he will save us.
  3. The Gospel is about me. God didn't send his only Son to die for our sins because of who we are. He did it because of who He is. That's right: He did it for his glory (Phil. 2:8-12) Yes, He did it because He loves us. But again, He doesn't love us because of who we are, but because of who He is. When we take the focus off of ourselves and put it back on Him, we will find that a lot of our doubts simply disappear.

    Now, I'm not saying that God can't or won't fill us up with all sorts of emotions when it serves his purposes (so please, no angry mail from my charismatic friends...) I'm just saying that our current atmosphere of viewing these kinds of feelings as a litmus test for salvation is way off base.

    I have found that when I do feel God (and we Baptists don't often talk that way ), it's less of a "hooo-eee, He's moving in my soul" and more of a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:1-19), there to sanctify, guide, encourage, and empower me.

    Check out this song by Everybody Duck. They say it far better than I can.

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