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Showing posts from 2013

A question from a friend about how to "convince" a co-worker

Hi! David,
I have tried to convince a friend back to church. What do you think about his arguments?  Any thoughts?
God Bless,
Franklin
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have no double about the existing of God. I truly believe there is God, the mighty power world creator. I just do not agree with the bible said because there is no logic. There is no point to argue if somebody who only believe the bible is true and right, just like politic. I truly believe that God does not want everybody to be honest and good. Otherwise he will not give freewill to people to choose to be bad. He needs positive and negative to reflect right and wrong. Otherwise the life of human being will be too boring. For thousand years, some people were trying to convert bad people to become good, and failed. So it really doesn't matter, after 100 years all people within the …

Is God the Source of Evil? - A question from a friend

My friend asks:
“The latest probe from a friend...did God create evil? If He created humans with the ability to sin, than He created sin. We're all born with tendencies to what we will do/ become. While I use the Bible as my standard of truth, this non believer relies on 'intellect' and the brain God has given us. Feedback appreciated.”

Hey Friend,
Sorry for the delay. Good question.
Ever since the great theologian, Augustine, the Church, by-in-large, has adopted his view of evil. Augustine said that evil is not a “thing” at all because everything God created is good. Since evil isn’t good, it can’t really exist. Therefore, evil is the absence of good -- like a shadow is the absence of light or cold is the absence of heat. If someone asked you the status of a shadow’s existence, the average person (and certainly any philosopher) would say, “It doesn’t really exist. It’s just what happens when light is blocked.”
Evil is what happens when good is perverted. Evil is the abse…

A conversation about mercy and forgiveness

Bob Hey pastor i have a question... What's the different between forgiveness and grace?
David W. Pendergrass They are related concepts and often could be synonyms in the Bible. Yet, there is typically a difference in understanding:
(1) forgiveness means something like, "not enacting punishment toward." So, when someone has done something wrong deserving punishment, "forgiveness" is not enacting punishment. The Hebrew way of saying that is metaphorical - it's like owing a great financial "debt" and not having to pay the debt any more.
(2) grace means something like, "an act or state of kindness." It can be an act of "grace" to be "forgiving."

I might say that grace is more broad, while forgiveness is more specific. Grace can refer to any act of kindness or charity, while forgiveness is focused on not punishing someone who deserves it.
Now, I have ALWAYS heard teachers/preachers make a (false) distinction between &quo…

Do Not Be Anxious . . . Really?

Below is a lesson from curriculum I have written. If you're interested in getting this curriculum for your small group or church, let me know.
Do Not Be Anxious . . . Really?Philippians 4:6-7

Literary Context
Philippians is one of Paul’s most joyful letters. He considers the church at Philippi, “dear friends whom I long to see, my joy and crown, ...” (Phi 4:1). They had sent financial aid via Epaphroditus (1:3-8; 2:25-30; 4:10-20). Paul gives them updates of his present and future ministry (1:19-26; 2:19-24; 4:10-13) and encourages the Philippians to continue to live out their Christianity (e.g., 1:27-30), especially by emulating certain models (2:5-11, 19-30; 3:7-14; 4:9), while emphasizing the need to stay away from false teaching (3:2, 18-19). The final chapter of this letter encourages unity and proper Christian thinking.
Interpretative Issues
Do not be [overly] concerned about anything[1] (6) The Greek word used here simply means “to care for” or “be concerned about.” This can be…

Are our sins not forgiven after becoming a Christian? A conversation with a friend

Hebrews 10:26, 27 Tough words.
I'm in Denver through Wednesday. Just read this this morning. Author seems to imply that sins after accepting Christ aren't covered by His sacrifice. I don't have study materials or more time at the moment. I am teaching this Sunday and thought I would do a highlight of Hebrews, since that is what I have been reading.  Can you help me with these two verses, please?
Thanks!
In Christ,
Christian Friend


Hey brother!
Thanks for the question. I hope your trip in Denver is great. J
24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near. 26 For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us, 27 but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume God's enemie…

Is God to blame for evil? A conversation with a former student

Hey Dr. Pendergrass! I've been reading the links you put up and watching the videos you've posted, and I have a 2 questions that I can't find any good answers to, and I was wondering if you could give me point me to some material to read up on them. 1) Why does the Former Christian God avoid negative responsibility if He has the power to stop evil (omnipotence) and chooses not to? My thinking so far is that God allows evil to exist because of the free-will God gives humans, and He is not the causal agent of evil. Still, it seems that even in the Bible God intervenes at certain points to stop evil either through direct intervention (Saul on the road to Damascus to stop the massacre) or through humans, so why not do that in every case? A few answers I've heard are that 1) God allows evil and suffering so that some good can come of it that would be impossible to produce otherwise and we just don't know how it works, and 2) evil and suffering allow for virtues such as l…

The Relationship of Doing and Being in the NT by Dr. Ben Witherington, III

This is an absolutely correct post from Dr. Ben Witherington, III: (Follow his great blog at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2013/07/17/the-relationship-of-doing-and-being-in-the-nt/) The Relationship of Doing and Being in the NT One of the major thrusts of my two volume work entitled The Indelible Image was showing the inherent, and necessary, connection between theology and ethics, between belief and behavior, between being and doing, in the Bible and in particular in the NT. I went on to stress the importance of the concept of the image of God as a connecting point between being and doing, belief and behavior, theology and ethics. By this I meant that we are all created in God’s image and we are meant to reflect that image on earth, more specifically we are meant to reflect the moral character of God on earth. God is holy, and so should we be. God is righteous and so should we be, God is compassionate, and so should we be, and so on. This reflecting of the divine char…

“Is drinking bad?” A discussion with a student

Michael Why is drinking/getting drunk bad
David W. Pendergrass Good question. I know of no particular teaching of Jesus that explicitly prohibits it and tells us why. Yet, based on the New Testament, I'd say that getting drunk is immoral because (1) it violates the requirement of God to have self-control (said repeatedly in the Bible) and (2) it is nearly impossible to love God with all our hearts, souls, strengths, and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mk 12:28-31) if we're drunk. It's also possible that being drunk ruins your Christian witness (Paul speaks about a similar situation in Romans and 1 Corinthians). My last two reasons are not biblical, but still matter: it can lead to an addiction, which enslaves us. Finally, because a drunk looks like a moron. J
Michael But when I have been drinking I absolutely have my clearest moments with Jesus and god and am actually a really good advocate on behalf of Christianity. I spread the word to my friends when the liqu…