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13 Q&As-to-Go, A Grab Bag of Reader- Questions and AIIA Starter-Responses
Each of the following questions were posed either by our readers (via mail or e-mail), or by those in attendance at one of a number of forums in which AIIA has participated this year.
Does God change? Hasn’t He changed the way that He deals with mankind over time? “For I, the Lord, do not change…” -Malachi 3:6a. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” -Hebrews 13:8.
Although immutability is an important attribute of the Biblical God, He is certainly also always very creative and relevant in His dealings with humankind (and all of His creation).
Can a liberal be a Christian?
“Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” -Romans 10:13. Jesus, in Matthew 7:21, said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” -John 1:12. Man-made labels aside, a Christian is one who has received Jesus as Savior, and who accepts and seeks to follow His teachings in all of life.
Why is Jesus such a big deal? If Jesus really was (and is) who He claimed to be, then the eternal destiny of every person – including you – who has ever lived since, hinges upon that individual’s response to Jesus during the days of their life. And that’s a pretty big deal.
Could the Bible story of Jonah & the Whale be allegorical, or is it actual historical fact?
The Old Testament story of the prophet Jonah’s three-day ordeal in the stomach of a “great fish” (Jonah 1:17ff) is certainly presented as factual. Why should anyone assume otherwise?
Epistemology doesn’t bring us to faith, but does it justify it? If not that, what does it do?
“It is only when you are asked to believe in Reason coming from non-reason that you must cry Halt, for, if you don’t, all thought is discredited. It is therefore obvious that, sooner or later, you must admit a Reason which exists absolutely on its own.” -C.S. Lewis in Miracles, pp27-28.
“Correct reasoning necessarily precedes science; therefore, in order for science to be valid, it must keep the faith it has in reason!” -Peter Bocchino, RZIM newsletter, Just Thinking
How do we know that Jesus really, truly, has been raised from the dead?
His tomb is empty and, apart from a resurrection, no other plausible explanation has ever been offered.
If Jesus only ever said that He was the Son of Man, was He really claiming to be God?
Jesus’ frequent references to Himself as the Son of Man were no doubt actually allusions to His Deity (not humanity), based on the Old Testament (Jewish) use of the term. See Daniel 7:13-14.
How do we know that David Koresh and other ‘cult’ leaders aren’t, in fact, hearing God?
When any individual’s teaching directly contradicts or supersedes the testimony of Scripture, it cannot be from God. See Galatians 1:6-9.
In a postmodern world that rejects all objective truth, how can [Christians] use the concept of objective truth as a viable defense of Christianity? How is a discussion including references to objective truth relevant and/or persuasive to someone for whom that concept itself is irrelevant?
It’s not irrelevant, and postmodernists must be confronted with their false premise. Ravi Zacharias, in his book, A Shattered Image, said: “At one of my lectures…a student rose to his feet and shouted, ‘Ah, everything in life is meaningless.’ I insisted that he could not possibly mean that. With an equally intense retort he countered that he did mean just that. I then asked him if he thought that his statement was a meaningful one. There was an acute silence.”
If through DNA they were able to prove that Joseph fathered Jesus, or if they ever discovered Jesus’ bones, what would that mean?
It would obviously mean that Christianity is a total and complete hoax.
The Apostles seemed a bit wishy-washy and unstable on the eve of the crucifixion – even denying Jesus. Why then should we believe their later accounts of Jesus being alive?
The disciples’ initial response to Jesus’ ordeal portrays only a very understandable human fear. Their more considered lifelong position demonstrates the depth of their ultimate conviction about Jesus’ resurrection and claims of Deity.
Is Christianity rational?
How is it that Christianity can be so exclusive and intolerant of other religious views?
Because Christianity is a reasonable faith, it is fully subject to the rules of logic – as are many reputable academic disciplines. If what Jesus taught is true, then the doctrine of many other faith systems is necessarily false.