Ask Your Preacher
Modern science once taught that the Earth was flat, and the church backed that teaching. What does the Bible actually say about that?
Throwing A Curveball
Dear Throwing A Curveball,
It was the Catholic church (not the Lord’s church) that supposedly backed the “flat earth” dogma. Without getting into too much history, let’s just say that even that isn’t completely accurate. The Catholic church argued with Galileo over whether or not the Earth was the center of the universe, but pretty much everyone agreed at that point that the Earth was round. The idea that religious people are ineptly backward when it comes science is a myth propagated by those who would have people believe that only atheists can be logical and scientific.
However, back to your question. The Bible refers to the “circle of the Earth” in Isa 40:22. The word used for ‘circle’ is the same Hebrew word for a sphere. Though the Bible is a book about spiritual things, when it touches on science it is always accurate.
This guy made a video that has had over 15 million views on YouTube. It’s entitled ‘Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus’. Is this Scriptural? Thanks.
Dear Viewer 15,000,000,001,
We watched the video, and we can sympathize with that young man’s frustration with religion. We share a lot of his feelings… but like all the other manmade views that he talked about, his views aren’t totally biblical either.
We are saved by grace, and no one can live a good enough life to deserve forgiveness (Rom 4:3-5). If you need forgiveness, that, by definition, means you did something wrong! Salvation is based upon our faith in Christ, not some behavior that we could boast of (Rom 3:27). Yet, what we do does matter. The man that says he has faith in God but shows a life of wickedness isn’t faithful at all (Matt 7:20, Jas 2:17). Faith without works is as dead as a body in a casket (Jas 2:26). Christians must strive to modify their behavior, but we can’t just modify our behavior, we must give our hearts and loyalty to Christ. When the choices we make are controlled by our love and faith in Christ, then we are becoming the people we ought to be. We would agree with this young man that it isn’t enough to “talk the talk”; we must “walk the walk” (Jas 1:25).
On the other hand, to use the blanket statement that, “I hate religion but love Jesus,” makes no sense. The English Dictionary defines ‘religion’ as ‘a) the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, b) a particular system of faith and worship’. Using either definition, Jesus died to set up religion! Jesus purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28), and the church is guided by the systems and laws found in the Bible (1 Tim 3:15). Jesus also died, so people would worship God and devote their lives to Him (Jhn 3:16). Jesus’ death was designed to start a religious movement that would change the world (Acts 17:6, Matt 28:19-20). If we say that we love Jesus but hate religion because it gives us rules and ordinances for “behavior modification” (as that video calls it), we are making a contradictory statement. If we love Jesus, we will modify our behavior (Jhn 14:15). Jesus hated false religion and manmade religion, but He loves His church (Eph 5:25).
So, we would say the video gets some things right and some things wrong… about par for the course when we talk about spiritual things without using the Bible as our manual.
Why is Christianity the right religion?
Dear Which Way,
The best way to show Christianity is the right religion is to show the uniqueness of the Bible. If the Bible is from God, then Christianity is right. The writers of the Bible admit that it is their hands that wrote it (Gal 6:11), but they also explain that God’s Spirit guided those hands (Eph 3:3-4). If that is true (and it is!), then the Bible would show signs that it was written by God and not man. Here are some simple reasons that the Bible is unique from every other book:
- It is 100% scientifically accurate. Isa 40:22 mentions the earth being round. Job 36:27-28 explains the water-vapor cycle. These and other verses mention scientific principles that were not understood until centuries later.
- It never contradicts itself. Over 40 different writers penned the pages of the Bible. They came from different walks of life and different eras, yet no one has ever found a contradiction from Genesis to Revelation.
- It has been perfectly preserved throughout history. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint are copies of the Bible written 1,000 years apart, and yet, there is no difference in the text.
- No book is as widely distributed as the Bible. Written in over 2,500 languages and sold by the billions, the Bible is the most published book on the planet. No other book comes even close.
- The Bible is accurate in prophecies. The prophecies of Tyre (Eze 26:3-21) and Babylon (Isa 13:19-22, Isa 14:23) give specific, detailed accounts of the fall of those cities. Those prophecies were written many years before the events took place, and yet they came to pass exactly as the Bible foretold.
These are only short answers to the question ‘Why is the Bible unique?’, but they are a good start when discussing the issue with someone. If you want a more detailed answer, I recommend Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell and Has God Spoken? by A.O. Schnabel as great reference material on this topic.
I am very confident in my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, but I try to study other religions as well because I wonder how I am going to witness to them and tell them the truth if I know nothing about what they believe. My question is: is it wrong to study other religions? A few people have told me it is.
Ready To Research
Dear Ready To Research,
There isn’t anything wrong with studying other religions, but it would be a problem if you spent more time studying a false religion than you did studying the Bible. How we spend our time is indicative of our priorities. God tells us to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15) and that we should grow in our knowledge, so we can teach others Jesus’ message (Heb 5:12). It is useful to know what false religions practice (even Paul had studied the pagan poets of his day – Acts 17:28), but it is not nearly as useful as knowing what the Bible says. The best way to prepare yourself to “give an answer for the hope that is within you” (1 Pet 3:15) is to make sure to study your Bible diligently. Once again, studying other religions isn’t wrong, but you need to make sure it is properly balanced with Bible study habits.
Is salvation by faith only or by both faith and works? Passages like Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17, 3:27-28, 4:2-5, 5:1, 10: 9-10, 11:6, Gal 2:16, 3:11-12, Eph 2:8-9, Tit 3:5, 2 Tim 1:9, and Php 3:9 all say that faith is just needed. Especially a standout here is Eph 2:8-9 because I see this verse used often by the Pentecostal/Evangelical Charismatic preachers to prove their idea that faith is all you need and nothing else, not even baptism. I often see these guys preach this idea to young people because they believe they will be more likely proselytes, especially someone who has never even touched a Bible in their entire lives.
But according to passages like Ps 62:12, Matt 16:27, Rom 2: 6-7, Pr 24:12, Eccl 12:14, Jer 17:10, 32:19, Jhn 5:29, 2 Cor 5:10, Php 2:12, Jas 2:14-26, Heb 6:10, 1 Peter 1:17, Job 34:11, Gal 6:7, Col 3: 23-24, and Rev 22:12, works do matter! So what are we saved by, and why are there some passages that talk about only faith and other passages talk about both faith and works?
Dear Mixed Messages,
The Bible says that we are saved by faith (Eph 2:8), but it never says that we are saved by faith only. The Scriptures mention a lot of things that are involved in our salvation. We are saved by hope (Rom 8:24). We are saved by baptism (1 Pet 3:21). We are saved by the love of the truth (2 Thess 2:10). All of these things are involved in your salvation. In order to understand a topic, we must look at the sum of God’s Word on that subject (Ps. 119:160).
We are told that in order to be saved, we must believe in Jesus (Jhn 3:16), repent of our sins (Acts 2:38), be baptized (Mk 16:16), and continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ through the Bible (2 Pet 3:18). Faith is hearing what God says (Rom 10:17)… and then acting upon it. James says that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17). It is impossible to be a faithful person and live an unrepentant life. Faith is more than belief; even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19). Faith is belief combined with action. We must be hearers and doers of God’s Word (Jas 1:22).