"Questions that Skeptics Often Ask
About the Christian Faith"
Week 6 ~ Q & A
About the Christian Faith"
Week 6 ~ Q & A
ASG - the Apologetics Small Group
This 12-week ASG is called:
"Questions that Skeptics Often Ask"
Week 6 ~ Q & A
In this week we have a break from the usual topics. This week we have a Q & A time where members come with their questions.
Here are a few questions that leaders might like to present to the ASG if member's questions are slow in coming.
How is the gospel good news for gays?
Firstly, we need to define the Gospel. Paul defines the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve...” So, the Gospel tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard. We have disobeyed Him and gone our own way. The Gospel then tells us about the Good News of what God did in Jesus to save sinners.
Tim Keller puts it this way:
“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
The Gospel is Good News for everyone
It doesn’t matter what your sin is? In Romans chapter 1, Paul speaks very clearly about homosexual practices as sin, but he also presents a list of sins which deserve death for those who practice them, namely: “wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful…” (v.29-31). This list leaves everybody guilty. We are all included in this list, and we all deserve death. We should not single out one sin as being more worthy of death than another.
This is a difference between the New Testament and the Old Testament. In the Old some sins (such as homosexual practice) were punishable by death, but Jesus and the N.T. Apostles show us that any sin cuts us off from God and is the reason why death came upon the human race in the first place. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This free offer of forgiveness and eternal life is good news for every sinner no matter what our sins are.
If homosexuality is a sin, why did God make me gay?
This is a leading question. It presumes that because some people have ‘gay’ inclinations, which seem natural to them, that it must be God who put these ideas, thoughts, desires or inclinations in their hearts.
God does not put sinful desires into a person’s heart or mind and God does not tempt anyone to do evil. Everyone has sinful inclinations. Everyone is disposed to do evil and turn away from God. Since the Fall, there is a natural propensity in human beings to rebel from the Creator and commit sin.
In the previous paragraphs one will notice that we have distinguished homosexual practice from homosexual inclinations. One might not be able to avoid homosexual inclinations or desires, but we can avoid ‘acting out.’ We all have sinful desires, but to feed these desires or to gloat on them is evil and often turns the desires into actions which is also evil in God’s sight.
Therefore, the debate over whether homosexuality is congenital (from birth), a result of one’s environment or a learned behavior is irrelevant for a Christian, for we believe that all sinful desires are innate and everyone has a natural bias to sin and rebel from God.
Do you have to be straight to be a Christian?
If by ‘straight’ is meant always having heterosexual desires, then the answer is no, but if by ‘straight’ is meant not engaging in homosexual practice then the answer is yes.
Speaker, author and Pastor Sam Allberry, is an editor for The Gospel Coalition, a global speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and a pastor based in Maidenhead, UK.
shares his approach to this topic while having lived with same-sex attraction since his early teens.
To find out more on Sam and his ministry visit: http://www.livingout.org
There are four talks which Pastor Sam gives in the Is God Anti-Gay? Conference - based on his book "Is God Anti-Gay?" Sam Allberry aims to equip Christians and skeptics alike to be able to understand and articulate the message of the Bible on this issue, and answer some contemporary questions and objections surrounding the historical Biblical position.
Is God Anti-Gay? Conference // Session 1: Is it good news? Homosexuality and the Gospel
The Gospel is Good News for Gays
I think the best way to share how the Gospel is gospel good news for gays is to allow some gay people to share their story of how they grasped the Gospel and experienced the love of God.
Go to http://www.livingout.org/stories and play some of the testimonies. They only go for a few minutes each but they present many authentic stories of how both male and female people came to know the unfailing love of God.
Who decided on which 66 books were holy?
The short answer is ‘God did.’ It is God who superintended the writing of the 66 books in the biblical canon, the words that were written by the human authors were the words that God wanted to be written, and He also decided that they would make up the Bibles we have today.
The church did not decide what books were to be in the canon. The church merely recognized what books God had inspired. This recognition was made within the first few centuries, by Christians in the churches, throughout the world at that time.
There was early recognition of the vast majority of canonical books, just a few books took a little longer to be recognized. So when the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed that it decided certain books were to be in the N.T. canon, these books were already accepted universally by the (small ‘c’) catholic church.
Why is the canon of Scripture closed?
This question was answered in week 4, on page 35 of these notes. The simple answer to this question is that the Revelation in Jesus Christ, to which the N.T. points and bears witness is finished. The Scriptures say this in a number of places, including Jude 3 and Hebrews 1.
"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude 3
"God …in these last days has spoken to us in His Son." Hebrews 1:2
The verb tenses in the original N.T. Greek, underlined in the above verses, indicate a completed past action that cannot be added to or repeated. So, these passages make it very clear that the revelation of salvation in Jesus (i.e. the Faith delivered) is not ongoing; it (the Faith, i.e. the Gospel) happened when Jesus was on earth. He is no longer personally walking this earth doing the work of our salvation. See:-
1 Corinthians 15:1-6. Our duty now is to proclaim this Gospel, which was once and for all delivered to the saints.
Scripture therefore, cannot be added to. It was the responsibility of the Apostles in the first century to testify to and to write about Jesus - His work and teaching. Jesus gave His Disciples a wonderful promise: “the Helper, the Holy Spirit… will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” John 14:26. This bears direct reference to the Apostles’ teaching and to the writing of the N.T. By the end of the first century, the Apostles had fulfilled their work of recording revelation the N.T. and they died. It is not possible for any more inspired revelation to be written or added to what they wrote.
Revelation, therefore, is not progressive, and the Bible cannot be added to. We may feel that God, through His Holy Spirit, ‘reveals’ things to us, but this personal ‘voice’ or ‘revelation’ to us is not on the level of inerrant Scripture. God speaks to us through Scripture to teach us, to reprove us, nurture us, convict us, convince us and guide us.
On this page are a number of relevant video clips.
Leaders: You don't have enough time to play them all in the ASG, but hopefully you can listen to them in your preparation time and choose the one or ones you think are more appropriate for the Group.
ASGers: For the regular ASG members, you have access to them too on this site, so try to watch them in the ensuing week.
"Sam, a church pastor in Maidenhead, is a Christian because he knows that Jesus died for him and rose from the dead, and the message of Jesus makes far more sense than anything else. His life as a same-sex attacted Christian can be painful and frustrating, but more than anything it gives him great understanding and compassion for others, and a capacity for friendship that otherwise wouldn't be possible."
Our topics for the next two weeks will be:
How do we really know the Bible is true and inerrant?
How can we understand all the inconsistencies in Scripture?
Isn’t the Bible supposed to be infallible?
These are important and relevant questions for all of us. Every time you pick up your Bible or open your Bible application on your preferred electronic device and read, you have a commitment to a particular view of Scripture whether you know it or not.
The orthodox Christian view is that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God and authoritative for every Christian. But where did this teaching come from? Can we support it from Scripture itself and/or reason?
Our discussions over the next two weeks will be of vital importance for everyone.