Bible Rejecter’s Question # 1: Love
God or Fear God?
Deut.6:5 says love God.
Matt.10:28 says fear God.
1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love, he that feareth is not made perfect in love".
Bible-Believer: There is no inconsistency. In 1John 4:18 John is NOT talking about “love” in general but about what he himself defines as love in 4:10, God’s love not our own love (as in Deut 6:5). God’s love, which dwells in us since salvation (1John 4:16) is given to us to be used toward other people. THIS love (we’re still talking God’s love) is made “PERFECT” in us when we love one another (verse 12). It is only this “perfect” love that casts out fear (see the whole of 1John 4:18). Jesus did not fear the cross and God the Father had no fear in sending His son because He possessed perfect love for those He died for. It is clear that in 1John 4:18 John is referring to GOD’S perfect love and not our own imperfect love since he says that our love for God is not even “love” just 8 verses previous - 1John 4:10!). And so fear can be cast out in the church’s relationship toward one another because their COLLECTIVE love can be made perfect by God’s love (1John 4:17). However no man (in himself) possesses perfect love toward God (in other words fulfils Deut 6:5) and so our own love for God will never be enough to cast out our fear of Him or render it obsolete. If Christians did love God perfectly (with all their soul, strength and mind) they’d never do anything wrong and of course in those circumstance there would be no need to fear God. However in reality, though we should aspire to love God perfectly, we don’t and so the fear of God is still needed to keep us from sin (Pro15:6).
Question # 2: Was the old Law/Covenant perfect?
Psalms 19:7 says that the Old Law/Covenant was perfect but Heb.8:6-7 says it wasn’t perfect and a new one was needed to replace it!
Bible Believer: One glance at both verses will demonstrate (to most people) that they are speaking of two different concepts. The words “law” and “covenant” simply cannot be used interchangeably as Brian has done above! The law (as spoken of in Psalm 19:7) is merely God’s standard for moral living and in itself is not a COVENANT. The Old Covenant (as spoken of in Hebrews 8) was the agreement between God and Israel, about the system by which they could attain justification. This system of justification did involve (along with animal sacrifices and other things) keeping the whole “perfect” law but neither the covenant or the system is the same thing as the actual LAW. The Old “Covenant” (wherein one had to fulfil the law by their own efforts and animal sacrifices) needed to be replaced with a better one (wherein one is seen to have already fulfilled the law by faith in Christ - Rom 10:4). Thus the “law” itself was, is and always will be perfect (see Heb 8:10, just three verses after the verse Brian refers to), it’s just that the “means of attaining its fulfilment” in the Old Testament (the Old Covenant) wasn’t.
Bible Rejecter’s Question # 3: Are
children to be punished for the sins of their fathers?
Ezek.18:20 "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son ".
Deut.24: 16 "...neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin ".
Exod.20:5 "I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation ".
Isa.14:21 "Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers".
In Exod.12:29 God personally kills the firstborn children of Egypt because of the sins of one man, the Pharaoh, in 2 Sam 12:14 God killed David’s son for David’s sin in direct opposition to what he said in Deut 24:16 and Rom 5:12-19 says we are all punished for the sins of our “original father” Adam. See also Deut 23:2 and Num 14:33. So which is it? Are children to be punished for the sins of their fathers or not? Do not lose sight of the fact that it says “I [God] visit the iniquity”
It doesn't say God merely permits the children to suffer the consequences of their father's actions, in each case God consciously sets about punishing (even killing) children for sins they did not commit; yet in Ezek 18:20 and Deut 24:16 he says he won’t do that.
Bible-Believer: Brian’s last line above demonstrates his terrible misunderstanding of the issue here. He thinks that God’s statements in Ezek 18:20 and Deut 24:16 imply that He (God) wouldn’t punish children for the sins of their fathers. A brief read (in context) of both verses will show you that God doesn’t say anything about what HE will or won’t do, He is merely giving a command about what MEN should or shouldn’t do. MEN are not supposed to punish the son for his father’s sins (societal rule). However GOD will “consciously” make the consequences of a father’s actions to be a point of suffering for his children in the future down to the third and fourth generation. If sin did not have consequences on others then what would make it wrong?
Isaiah 14:21 is speaking metaphorically about the coming ruin of Babylon. Obviously, as in all wars innocent lives would be harmed, children were to be killed because the evil of their fathers warranted the complete destruction of the kingdom. The children however were not held guilty for their parent’s sins. This concept as well as incidents spoken of in Exod 12:29, 2Sam 12:14, Deut 23:2, Num 14:33, Rom 5:19, Noah’s flood and Sodom and Gomorrah (which all concern how God deals with sin) do not contradict Ezek 18:20 or Deut 24:16 because the latter two verses are rules for society and merely concern how MEN are to deal with sin.
Bible Rejecter’s Question # 4: Faith or works or faith and works or predestination?
John 3:18 "He
that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned
Eph. 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast ".
Rom.3 :20 "By the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight ".
Rom.2:13 "Not the hearers of the law are just before God. but the DOERS of the law shall be justified ".
“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
Heaven; but He that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
James 2:14 "What doth it profit my brethren though a man say he hath faith, and not works; Can faith save him?"
Matthew 16:27 “The Son of man will come…and reward every man according to his works”.
John 5:29 "They which have DONE good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have DONE evil unto the resurrection of damnation.
James 2:21 “Was not Abraham our father justified by works?”
Even if one wanted to believe the Bible and get to Heaven the problem is that it provides two mutually exclusive ways of getting there! In addition predestination (Question 2) means that both faith and works routes to salvation are false!
Bible Believer: This collection of verses (that when investigated even most flippantly clearly do not contradict each other), which Brian has printed above just show that he has absolutely no interest in being reasonable about the Bible. Salvation in this age is by faith alone in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the first three verses above (as well as hundreds of others) confirm this. The other verses (after the “but …” above) that supposedly contradict this concept, will be explained one by one (1. to 6.) to show that (again) there is no contradiction.
Question # 5: Have all sinned?
Rom.3:23 "ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God", Rom 3:10 “There is none righteous, no, not one”
Gen.6:9 "Noah was a just man and PERFECT".
Job 1:1 "Whose name was Job and that man was PERFECT". See also Luke 1:6.
Bible-Believer: Noah and Job certainly did commit sin in their lives (Rom 3:23). The term “perfect” is never used to refer to sinlessness. The word is only used to describe maturity, completion, and entirety (Col 4:12, 1Cor 13:10, Heb 2:10, 5:9, Jam 1:4). The proof of this is that the same man (Paul) who said that all have sinned in Rom 3:23 asserts that some people are, and can be “perfect” in Phil 3:12, 1Cor 2:6, 2Cor 13:11, Col 4:12, 2Tim 3:17 and so on. Job and Noah were “thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2Tim 3:17) not SINLESS. Regarding Luke 1:6, this verse uses the words “blameless” and “righteous”. Firstly “blameless” never denotes “sinless” either. Paul himself says that he was “blameless” before his conversion (Phil 3:6) while describing himself as the chief of “SINNERS” in 1Tim 1:15. Paul (keep in mind, he’s the one who said that all have sinned in Rom 3:23) also asserts the existence of “blameless” people in 1Thess 5:23, 1Tim 3:2, 3:10 and Titus 1:6!
The word “righteous” is a special case. This word does obviously mean “sinless” in Rom ch3 but not in most other contexts (including Luke 1:6). Paul himself uses this same word to describe two different kinds of people, people who only ever do right (Rom 3:10) and people who only do right most of the time (Rom 5:7). Obviously he’s not advocating the existence of a sinless man in 5:7 so soon after he claimed there are none in existence. This is similar to the way Jesus uses the word “good”. First He implies that some people can be “good” (Matt 5:45, Matt 12:35) then He says that, when it comes to it there’s actually none “good” in Matt 19:17 (obviously He means “completely good” in the latter context despite only using the word “good”). Any reasonable person will see there is no contradiction here; we use these words in the same ways today. A person can be righteous (a good person) but by God’s standards he is still a wicked sinner deserving hell (because he’s broken all God’s commandments). In God’s eyes the moon doesn’t even shine and the stars are unimpressive (Job 25:5) so although a man may be a “good” person (Job 12:4) he’s really not a good person in every sense of the word (Job 25:6, 9:2-3, Isa 64:6). Of course if Brian and his fellow-mockers were reading this stuff in any other book they would have no problem understanding what the author meant.
Bible Rejecter’s Question # 6: Does
the Law still stand?
Rom,7:4 "Wherefore, my brethren ye also are become dead to the law by the body of
Ga1.3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law",
Luke 16:17 "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass than one title of the law to fail", Matt 5:18 "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law",
Rom,3:31 "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea we establish the law",
Rom 7: I "Know ye not how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth, "
1 John 3:4 "Sin is the transgression of the law",
Rom,7:2 "The woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth",
If the Law was "nailed to the cross" and no longer applies as some Christians allege, then the Ten Commandments went along for the ride and they no longer apply either!
1 John 3:4 says sin is the transgression of the law and if the law no longer applies that means it is now impossible to sin!
This is a very ambiguous question. Most
of these verses have nothing to say on whether the law “stands” or doesn’t
“stand”. First things first, the term “law” can refer to a number of different
things. Only two concern us here. It can refer to the moral law given to Moses
on Sinai (John 1:17). But it can also refer to the books in which this law (plus
a lot of other things) is contained, also called the Pentateuch (first five
books of the Bible). Rom 7:4 and Galatians 3:13 refer to the Christians
position, that is, dead to Moses’ moral law by the spiritual circumcision of the
soul from the flesh. A Christian’s soul is not held accountable for
transgressing the law once they’ve been saved and will escape the “curse” or
punishment of the law, for transgressing which is the second death (Rev 21:8).
However Paul makes it clear that only a Christian’s SOUL is free from the law
and its curse (Rom 7:5) while the flesh is still held accountable for sin and
will eventually face the curse (death), see Rom 7:24-25. So as long as a
Christian is living in a physical body here on earth, it is still possible to
sin or transgress the law (1John 3:4).
Let’s get to the verses that supposedly say that the law does “stand” then. Luke 16:17 and Matt 5:18 refer to the preservation of the books of the law (second meaning, see above) and the eventual fulfilment of the promises contained in them not the “law” spoken of in Romans and Galatians. Jots and tittles are done with a PEN. Secondly in Rom 3:31 Paul teaches that faith is the establishment of the law because by faith in Christ we receive perfect righteousness as though we had obeyed the entire list of commandments in the law (Rom 5:4,8:4,10:4), this verse also has NOTHING to say on whether the law “stands” or not.
Rom 7:1 and 7:2 are referring to people who are still trying to live by the law in order to gain salvation (unbelievers), not everyone (which Paul explains 3 verses later!). Unbelievers are still “UNDER” the law, which merely means, because they have not received Christ’s righteousness and will be judged by their own righteousness (their ability to keep the law without spot). Notice that Brian had already listed Romans 7:4 as a verse that teaches that the law DOESN’T stand, then he lists Paul’s build up to 7:4 (Rom 7:1 and 7:2) as verses that teach that the law DOES stand. Once again he’s telling the story backwards and then saying there’s a contradiction! The bottom line is, if anyone of reasonable intelligence just reads the whole of chapter 7 from left to right and top to bottom they will see that Brian is plucking out verses, jumbling them up and then calling it a contradiction. When Christians say, “the law was nailed to the cross” all they mean is that God blotted out our record of sin (transgression against the law) because of Christ’s death.