One of the more controversial verses in the New Testament in recent days is Romans 1:26-27. While Matthew 7:1-2 may be the most used verse even by non-Christians, Romans 1:26-27 is quickly becoming the go-to passage for those seeking to qualify the truth of scripture for their own means. According to one website that promotes a homosexually friendly reading of Romans 1:26-27, “Romans 1 has nothing to do with homosexuality because gays and lesbians are never mentioned in Romans 1.”[i] Noted Bible scholar Dr. Thomas Schreiner, commenting on Romans 1:24-32 rightly rejects that approach asserting, “Idolatry is “unnatural in the sense that it is contrary to God’s intention for human beings. To worship corruptible animals and human beings instead of the incorruptible God is to turn the created order upside down. Human beings were intended to have sexual relations with those of the opposite sex. Just as idolatry is a violation and perversion of what God intended, so too homosexual relations are contrary to what God planned when he created man and woman.”[ii] [Read more...]
Approximately thirty-five hundred years ago, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai and soon after, other commandments followed. These together formed what is called the Mosaic Law. It consisted of six hundred and thirteen laws (or commandments) that were both positive (“you should”) and negative (“you should not”) and are contained in the first five books of the Old Testament – also called the Torah (meaning “instruction” or “law”). These laws ranged from prohibitions against stealing, murder and sexual perversion to cleanliness (or hygienic) laws to dietary laws (which meats were not fit for human consumption) and last to priestly laws that governed the tabernacle worship and offerings. Fifteen hundred years later, Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of many prophesies in the Old Testament as a practicing Jew (abiding by the Mosaic Law). Jesus claimed that he came to fulfill the Law, but not abolish it (Matthew 5:17), but in what sense did “fulfill” mean? Paul stipulated that Christ is the end (telos) of the Law (Romans 10:4), but does this mean the Law no longer applies to Christians or something else? [Read more...]
:::Ask the Alliance #9::: Does God permit torture?
Question submitted by Jason: Is there any circumstance under which God would approve of torturing a person, such as if a terrorist is being interrogated?
Jason, thank you for your question. Here are some responses from The Christian Apologetics Alliance:
This is not an easy question – and hence I suspect there will be a wide range of answers.
I think there is a need to define terms carefully:
(A) What do you mean by torture? Torture, in the conventional sense, is the gratuitous inflicting of suffering on someone in order to derive pleasure.
(B) What do you mean by permit? Just because God permits something does not mean that something in itself is good. E.g, That God permits evil and suffering in this world does not entail that God agrees with evil and suffering- merely, that God permits them for a greater good.
Because if the terms are not defined properly, one could say “yes” or “no” without morality being part of the equation. For example I can say “God permits torture” in the sense that, as a Molinist, I affirm libertarian free will and that God permits us to use our freedom to do as we will. It does not, however, mean inflicting suffering is in itself a good or bad thing. [Read more...]
As we are striving towards a common goal of expressing the reason for the hope that we have, we can come in contact with the seemingly cold nature of reality. Sometimes, it seems like there are things wrong with the world that are extraordinarily hard to reconcile with the nature of God who loves all humanity.
I have heard this said about living with a variety of disabilities. People wonder how a loving God can allow some people to go through so many trials in life that the general population may never experience. How is that not cruel or even remotely fair?