September, 2010 Archive

Is baptism necessary for salvation?

Those who suppose baptism is necessary for salvation frequently cite Peter’s words in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized,” as evidence that belief plus baptism results in salvation. Scripture clearly does not support this view. First, as the book of Acts itself demonstrates, baptism is a sign of conversion, not the means of conversion. Indeed, […]

Does Isaiah 53:5 guarantee our healing today?

The mantra “by his stripes we are healed” is repeated endlessly in Christian circles. However, these words extracted from Isaiah 53:5 focus on spiritual rather than physical healing. First, a quick look at the context makes it clear that Isaiah had spiritual rather than physical healing in mind: Christ “was wounded for our transgressions, He […]

How can Christians legitimize a God that orders the genocide of entire nations?

The very notion that God would command the obliteration of entire nations is abhorrent to skeptics and seekers alike. In context, however, God’s commands are perfectly consistent with his justice and mercy. First, a text without a context is a pretext. God’s commands to destroy the nations inhabiting the promised land of Canaan must never […]

How could a good God sanction the stoning of a disobedient child?

The Mosaic Law included the following provision for dealing with a disobedient son: “His father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is […]

How could the Bible command a rape victim to marry her rapist?

According to Mosaic Law, “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he […]

Was Jonah swallowed by a whale?

The book of Jonah contains the familiar story of a prophet named Jonah who was preserved three days and three nights in the belly of a large fish (1:17). Though skepticism has led many to allegorize this fish tale, there are good reasons to interpret it as an actual historical account. First, details and descriptions […]

Does the Bible promote slavery?

A myth propped up by secular skeptics is that Scripture sanctions slavery. Nothing could be farther from the truth. First, it should be noted that far from extolling the virtues of slavery, the Bible denounces slavery as sin. The New Testament goes so far as to put slave traders in the same category as murderers, […]

Does the Bible promote polygamy?

Polygamy, the practice of one man having multiple wives, was common in antiquity. Though practiced in the Old Testament, polygamy was never God’s perfect plan. First, the ideal pattern of monogamous marriage of one woman and one man was established early in Genesis: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and […]

Who was Cain’s wife?

One of the most common objections to the Genesis account of Creation concerns the reference to Cain’s wife in Genesis 4:17. Unless God supernaturally created a wife for Cain as he had for Adam, he would have had to engage in incest with one of his sisters. First, we should note that Adam lived almost […]

If Christianity is true, why are so many atrocities committed in the name of Christ?

This is a classic smokescreen question often asked to avoid having to grapple with the evidence for authentic Christianity. At best, it involves a hasty generalization. At worst, it’s a way of “poisoning the well.” To begin with, this question was anticipated by Christ, who long ago proclaimed that His followers would be recognized by […]

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