At our annual church BBQ, we had a panel called “Grill a Christian” where visitors were asked to submit questions about Christianity to be answered by the panel.
How can I believe that there is a God if I cannot see him. How do you prove that he exists?
The Creation with is amazing complexity and order is strong evidence for the existence of a creator. In fact, no other explanation, even those that a priori (beforehand) rule out the supernatural, providing a more satisfying answer to our existence and purpose than that revealed to us in the Bible. While we cannot prove the existence of God who transcends (is beyond) space and time, we can see abundant evidence that supports his existence and the reliability of his word to us in the Bible. We are called to live by faith (Romans 1:17b), in the triune God (one God, in three persons), but our faith is not a blind or an unreasonable faith. – BH
Does God, the Almighty, love all people whether: Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, Atheist, Christian, etc., in the same way?
The Bible makes clear that God choses a people for himself from among all nations. God has great love and mercy because, in spite of his abundant blessing on mankind, we have chosen to rebel against him and seek our own way. This means that God would be entirely justified in condemning us immediately to death. However, he so full of love and mercy for his creation that he has provided a way that mankind can be saved from this fate. He did this by taking the punishment for our rebellion (sin) upon himself through his son Jesus who came to earth to live the obedient life we could not live and die the death we deserved to die. Those that turn from their rebellion against God and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin will be adopted into his family and experience eternity with him. Those that do not trust in Jesus are not obeying the God’s word concerning the only way to be made right with him (John 14:6) and are pridefully trusting in themselves to either earn his favor through their own righteousness or continuing to reject him altogether. In either case, they stand in danger of receiving the due penalty for their own choice because we can never be good enough to earn his forgiveness and his patience for our rejection of him will one day run out. – BH
When did you give your life to Jesus and what was the change?
I first understood what Jesus did on the cross at a relatively early age. However, it was many years before I realized that Jesus requires us to die to ourselves in order to be his true disciples (followers). This was not easy for me because there were some things in this life that I loved that did not accord with God’s word. I thought I could be a Christian and hold onto some of those sins. But Jesus demands total surrender and will give us something back that is greater than what we’ve given up. It was while reading the Bible that the Holy Spirit struck me with the beauty of the gospel message. I finally realized that he loved me personally, and not just mankind in a collective way, as he opened my eyes to his way of salvation. I came to trust him as my Heavenly and perfect father. I realized I needed to be “all in” or I wasn’t in at all. As I read regularly the Bible, I came to love his word, how he speaks truth to me through it and he uses it to transform me to be more and more as I was created to be – like his son Jesus. Life struggles and challenges still continue and I make many mistakes, but I have an anchor in the storm (Hebrews 6) and a hope because I know he will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13) and no one can pluck me out of his hand (John 10). – BH
What is a parable?
A parable is a story used as a teaching aide to help communicate a spiritual truth through analogy. It is sometimes called an earthly story that has heavenly meaning. – BH
What is a good Samaritan (Luke 10)?
Jesus told his disciples that they are to love their neighbors as themselves. Trying to justify himself someone asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Perhaps he wanted to know the limit of those he must love. Jesus told a parable to show that our neighbors can even be someone we consider an enemy. Jews and Samaritans had a long history of disdain for one another, yet this good Samaritan loved the injured man and made significant sacrifice to care for his needs. We are to do likewise. – BH
How many Christians are there in the world and in Belgium?
Statistics show that there are more than 2.2 billion people in the world that identify themselves as being Christian, while the number in Belgium is near 7 million. We may ask ourselves what makes a Christian a Christian? While we don’t ultimately know the hearts of others, the Bible speaks of Christians as those who have repented of (turned from) sin and are believing (trusting) in Jesus Christ. It refers to Christians as those that identify with Jesus through baptism whereby we go through the waters of baptism publicly to symbolize a greater truth in our lives where we identify ourselves with Jesus in dying to our rebellion against God and being raised to new life where we live in obedience to him through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are still human and fail him by sinning, but we regularly confess our sin and seek his strength to overcome our weakness. Calling ourselves Christians if we have not done, and are doing, these things is using the Lord’s name in vain. – BH
I never see people praying in tongues since I came to IBC. Why don’t people pray in tongues at IBC?
There are different views within the church as to whether this gift remains active in the church in our day. Because of the common abuse of the biblical constraints on the use of tongue, which says they are an intelligible language used for the benefits of its hearers and that they should be interpreted for the benefit of others, we do not practice it during our worship services. None of us would deny that God can bless his church with the ability to speak unlearned languages though we generally recognize that the original purpose of the gift of tongues has greatly diminished. The entire Bible has been translated into more that 670 languages and the New Testament into more than 1520. Churches exist all over the world that preach and teach the word of God in local languages. While there remain a few unreached people groups, this number, thanks to the hard work of Bible translators and missionaries, is decreasing on a yearly basis. – BH
Why is there no deliverance (healing) for the sick people?
We would not agree that there is no deliverance (or healing) for sick people. In fact, we believe and pray on a regular basis for our loved ones and those close to us that are suffering physical illness. We do not believe that sickness requires deliverance from an evil spirit and we do not believe that sickness is specifically related to individual sin, though it entered the world through sin and sinful living has consequences. We believe that sickness is a condition of sinful man, as is death. We believe God can, and does, heal sickness when he chooses to do so. We believe that our prayer influences God in his healing. We believe that God is ultimately sovereign (has the power to decide) who will be healed and who will not. We believe that spiritual sickness, or sin, is a greater illness than our physical illness and needs to be forgiven through repentance and trusting in the forgiveness and grace offered in Jesus. – BH
Did humans and dinosaurs live at the same time?
There are probably different views on this within the church. While science and the Bible seem to be at odds regarding paleontology, we find that Bible is reliable in terms of the truth is communicates to us. We find that science, when honestly conducted, has corrected itself many times over the course of history. At the same time, we understand that the Bible is not a science book and aims to teach us higher truths. For example, more important than the specifics of Creation is that there is a Creator, man rebelled against him yet God provided a means of reconciliation. We must remember to remain humble and focus more on the essentials of the faith than with lesser details. – BH
Google says Maria Magdalene is the wife of Jesus. So what are the name of his children?
You probably shouldn’t trust Google for all truth. Neither the Bible or the early church give any credence to Jesus having married or that he had children. We know that some fiction writers have produced bestsellers where they mingle fact and fantasy to sell books. We must be careful to recognize the difference between fiction and truth. – BH
The Bible is composed of 300 plus books, why are we only using 66?
While it is true that there are other sacred texts that have been used by the church throughout the ages, bible scholars and the early church have made a distinction between those that were recognized as being inspired by God and those that were not. These other books were often considered to have teaching value but were not authoritative. We recognize and use the 66 (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament) books of the Bible that have been recognized by the church as the canon. The canon of the Old Testament was generally less contested than that of the New Testament where the criteria are: 1) Was the author an apostle or have a close connection with an apostle? 2) Is the book being accepted by the body of Christ at large? 3) Did the book contain consistency of doctrine and orthodox teaching? 4) Did the book bear evidence of high moral and spiritual values that would reflect a work of the Holy Spirit? As the other books were not, and are not, considered authoritative we don’t use them because we rely on the authoritative word of God as our primary source in preaching and teaching. – BH
If God created humans first, why are dinosaurs before us (in the archeological record)?
See answer to 9 above. – BH