Faith

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Has Focus on the Family reviewed William P. Young's novel, "The Shack"?

Has Focus on the Family reviewed William P. Young's novel, The Shack?

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Christian Has Deep Doubts About Their Salvation

How can I know that I'm saved when I don't feel saved? I know that many people struggle with doubts about this – it's a problem I've had throughout my Christian life. I've talked to many pastors over the years, and nearly all of them have told me the same thing. They said that if I've asked God to save me, then I'm saved. I also know what the Bible says about this – that the Lord will save us if we simply call upon Him. But that knowledge doesn't always help. A few nights ago it got so bad that I was completely convinced that I am not saved and never will be. It was more than just a doubt, more than just a feeling. It was debilitating. I was beyond functioning. I can't go on living with this kind of despair. Can you help me?

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Questions on Election and Predestination

How can I know if I've been "chosen" for salvation? I was raised in the church by Christian parents, and for most of my life I've always felt pretty comfortable with my faith. But lately I've been having doubts. I heard a minister say that God elects or chooses certain people for salvation. This has put all kinds of disturbing thoughts into my mind. I cling to John 3:16 for assurance, but I can't help wondering: "What if I'm not one of those God has chosen?"

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Willful Sin After Salvation and Eternal Security

Does "willful sin" cause me to lose my salvation? I've been a Christian for a long time, but lately I've been going through a terrible struggle with a particular sin over and over again. Sometimes I feel as if I can't control myself, but then I think, "No, that can't be right — you're just making excuses." A Christian friend told me that if I go on sinning willfully, God will reject me and I'll lose my salvation. That really shook me up. Do you think he's right?

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Science and the Bible

How can I believe the Bible in light of what science tells us? I recently went with my family to see the fossilized remains of some dinosaur tracks and bones. I was impressed with what I saw, but I also went away feeling troubled. These tracks and bones, which are said to be millions of years old, are obviously very real. Don't they contradict the scriptural account of the world's creation? Why aren't dinosaurs mentioned in the Book of Genesis? And how is it possible to believe the Bible's illogical claim that the first humans lived to be 800 or 900 years old? Statements like this make it extremely embarrassing to be a Bible-believing Christian.

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The Apocrypha

What is "The Apocrypha?" While discussing spiritual subjects with a Roman Catholic friend, I discovered that her Bible is different from mine. Apparently it contains several additional books. I have no idea what to make of this, but it raises unsettling questions in my mind about the formation of our canon of Scripture. Why have some Christians chosen to reject the "apocryphal" books and others to retain them? Whose is the "correct" Bible-mine or my friend's?

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Why the Bible Is Reliable

Why should I trust the Bible? I've heard experts say that the "canon" of Scripture was actually patched together at a relatively late date by politically driven church councils and ecclesiastical leaders who had agendas of their own to promote. What led these people to include certain books and reject others (the so-called "Apocrypha")? Why should I trust their judgment?

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Rediscovering Christian Faith

How can I regain my childhood faith? I was brought up as a Christian but stopped believing in God a few years ago. More recently, I've been feeling as if something is drawing me back to the faith of my childhood. My fear is that this is purely a matter of sentiment and emotion and has nothing to do with verifiable truth and solid facts. I've been actively searching for God by attending church, reading the Bible, and listening to debates between atheists and believers. But I've come to the conclusion that His existence can't be proven by rational arguments. I'm ready to give Him the benefit of the doubt, but I'm afraid that isn't the same thing as really believing with my whole heart. I feel stuck and don't know what to do. Can you help?

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Making Sense of the Christian Faith

Why should I believe when Christianity is so illogical and so inconsistent with what I observe in the world around me? I grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian university, married a Christian classmate, and now have a growing family of my own. In spite of all this, I no longer consider myself a Christian. No offense, but I feel as if I've been set free. Now I don't have to engage in mental gymnastics in order to make my worldview match up with reality. I can face facts without trying to explain them away-for example, the undeniable evidence for evolution or the senselessness of human suffering. Why tell the heroic survivors of earthquakes in Haiti or Japan to put their faith in Jesus? Why add to their pain by leading them to believe that their departed family members are now burning in hell? I think it's more important to concentrate on love and humanitarianism. Wouldn't you agree?

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Questions About God's Provision (Philippians 4:19)

Can we count on God to provide materially for His faithful children? Philippians 4:19 seems to promise that He always will. I've been clinging to this verse since losing my job, but it doesn't seem to have done me and my family much good. Over the past several months we've lost our home, our car, and most of our possessions. This has been hard, but it has also had the effect of raising bigger questions in my mind. I realize that many faithful Christians down through the ages have lived with unmet physical needs. They have struggled under circumstances much harsher than my own. The more I think about this, the harder it is to believe that God's promise is true. Can you help me resolve this crisis of faith?

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A Biblical Perspective on Leadership

What does genuine biblical "leadership" look like? "Leadership" in general is an idea that seems to be getting a lot of promotion these days. Whether I'm at church, in a bookstore, or at work, it seems the assertion that "everybody needs to be a leader" is always being pushed. I'm not sure if this is valid or not. But either way it seems to me that the whole notion of "leadership" has been elevated to the level of near-idolatry. Does Scripture really teach that everyone should strive to be a "leader"?

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Reconciling Christian Suffering and "All Things Working for Good"

How can pain and suffering be good? It seems whenever Christians talk about this subject, someone always quotes Romans 8:28. Is this verse literally true? I've seen Christians go through the same kinds of sufferings as unbelievers, and in most cases nothing "good" has come of it, at least not from my perspective. Can you help me understand this?

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Defining the "Christian" or "Biblical Worldview"

How can there be such a thing as a single, integrated "Christian worldview" when Christians stand divided on so many issues? I'm forever hearing conservative evangelicals talk about the "Christian" or "biblical worldview," as if that's a term everyone recognizes, accepts, and understands. But I don't think any such consensus exists. Everyone believes his or her own church's teachings on this, that, and the other point of doctrine. Meanwhile, they all give lip service to the idea of "loving one another," but won't even associate with believers from other denominations. This being the case, how is it possible to speak of a single, consistent "Christian worldview?"

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Reasons to Believe in God

Can you give me any proof that God exists? I consider myself a practical person and a realist. Faith in God may be fine for sentimentalists, dreamers, and romantics who see the world through emotionally tinted glasses. But I'm determined to base my personal philosophy and my concept of truth on nothing but rock-solid facts. Since there's no proof that God exists or that Jesus ever lived – in other words, since these ideas can't be objectively demonstrated by logical, controlled, and repeatable methods – I see no reason to believe in Christianity. What do you say to that?

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Understanding Postmodern Thought

Exactly what is "postmodernism?" I've heard a lot of talk about it lately. Supposedly it's a great threat to Christianity in contemporary culture. Unfortunately, I haven't found a comprehensive and easily understandable definition of the term. How would you describe the basic beliefs associated with "postmodernism?" Can you name some of the primary philosophers and thinkers behind it?

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Seeking Truth Among Different Religions

If Christianity is true, why are there so many different religions? There are things about the Christian faith that I find winsome and attractive, but I can't bring myself to accept it all. It's difficult to take a step like that in the modern world, where we know so much about so many other belief systems, many of which seem equally valid. What sets Christianity apart from the rest?

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Reasons Christians Don't Give

How can our church encourage its members to be better and more generous stewards of God's money? I've heard that Christians today are giving less than at any time in recent history. Why is this the case, and what can be done about it?

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Questions About Christian Fantasy/Fiction

Should Christians avoid fantasy literature? I'm a teen girl who loves this genre, especially the works of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and George MacDonald. But recently I stumbled across an article that has caused me to wonder whether I've been mistaken in this regard. The author said that Christian fantasy/fiction is an "oxymoron." To prove his point, he quoted I Timothy 4:7 and said that fairy tales and other stories of this kind are exactly what Paul had in mind when he told Timothy to stay away from "old wives' fables." Do you think he's right?

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A Biblical View of Survivalists and Preppers

What do you think of Christians who adopt a "survivalist/off-the-grid" mentality? Who sell their homes, move to remote desert or mountain locations, stockpile food, grow their own crops, live like "pioneers," and strive to be as independent of the "system" as possible? I know several people who are moving in this direction. I don't completely disapprove-after all, I'm sure we'd all be better off if we eliminated some of our modern luxuries and learned to live more simply. Still, I can't help wondering if this is really the way God wants us to behave as His witnesses in the world. What do you think?

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Christians and the Environment

What does the Bible have to say about conservationism and environmental concerns? I've noticed lately that several well-known Christian leaders have decided to make "global-warming" a key issue. Other evangelicals suggest that the "climate change" movement is primarily political and ideological in motivation. That's the way I've viewed it, but I'm also aware that God expects us to act as good stewards of His creation. I'm thinking in particular of Bible verses like Gen. 1:28-30 and Ps. 24:1. Can you help me understand what they mean within the context of a specifically Christian worldview?

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Biblical Instruction and Expectations for Christian Giving

Are Christians really obligated to keep the "law" of the tithe? I hear a lot about tithing from the pulpit of my church, and quite frankly it angers and frustrates me. How does all this fit in with everything Paul says about the new covenant of grace and the Christian's freedom from the law? Why should I, as a follower of Jesus, be bound by Old Testament rules and regulations?

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How Can Woman Be Made in the Image of a Male God?

How is it possible for both men and women to be made in the Divine Image when the Bible speaks of God primarily in masculine terms? I'm wondering if all the talk I've been hearing about the biblical basis for equality between the sexes is just an attempt on the part of liberal theologians to "feminize" God.

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Evangelizing Millennials

What is the best way to communicate the Gospel message to the "millennial" generation? Our church has committed itself to reaching out to this group, but I'm concerned about what I perceive as a tendency to "broaden" the Gospel's appeal to twenty-somethings by watering it down and removing all references to sin, repentance, and judgment. To me this seems like a huge mistake. After all, Jonathan Edwards' sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" touched off one of the greatest revivals we've ever seen in this country. As I see it, the Church is supposed to be proclaiming the truth, not initiating a "dialogue" about it. Can you help me sort this out?

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Biblical Basis for Giving to the Poor

What does the Bible have to say about poverty and giving to the poor? I want to have a God-honoring attitude on this matter, but to be honest, as a new Christian I've been confused by some of the differing opinions and ideas I've heard. Do you consider this kind of activity to be an important part of the Christian life?

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