by Peter Ditzel
There is a move today to reconcile the Bible and science. This can sound like a good and reasonable goal. But can we really reconcile “Thus saith the Lord” with “It has been scientifically proven”? Should we even want to try?
As most Americans know by now, on January 3, 2010, TV news anchorman Brit Hume committed the equivalent of the politically correct (PC) world’s unpardonable sin. During a panel discussion show on Fox News, Hume was asked what advice he would give golfer Tiger Woods, recently scandalized for having numerous adulterous affairs. To the horror of many, Hume replied,
We humans are diverse in our likes and dislikes, personalities, talents, and behavioral tendencies. Why? Are various tendencies, including sexual orientation, physically based (usually, but not always, meaning genetically determined)? Do they stem from our environment, the parenting we received, the friends we had, the stability or lack of it we experienced? Or are they really only a matter of choice? Do the answers to these questions make any difference as far as the Bible is concerned? That is, does a link to some physical factor, such as a particular genetic configuration, for what the Bible defines as sin absolve the person from responsibility?
A. These questions are based on a controversy raging in the United States as I write. Several states have already passed, and others are in various stages of trying to pass, what are being called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. In general, these acts are designed to define the right of “persons” to act according to their religious beliefs or consciences in their businesses, so long as doing so does not conflict with a “compelling state interest.” In some of these bills, such as that in Indiana, “person” means more than just an individual. Person is also defined as “a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, a company, a firm, a society, a joint-stock company, an unincorporated association” organized and operated for profit or nonprofit purposes that can sue and be sued. Many assert that the motive behind such legislation is to legalize discrimination for religious reasons against people based on their sexual orientation.
The lack of critical thinking skills among the general public is what keeps many businesses, governments, political parties, and churches afloat. One of the less rational arguments on the planet is the one behind the so-called pro-choice movement. Pro-choice is the euphemism used for the pro-abortion movement. In this article, I want to expose the ludicrousness of the pro-choice position, show why abortion should be considered murder, and explain from the Bible what Christians should and should not do in response to the pro-abortion movement.
A. The belief that the wicked will be executed after the resurrection is called annihilationism. Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the followers of Herbert W. Armstrong all believe this doctrine. A number of other theologians in more mainstream churches have also promoted annihilationism, or at least believed it to be a legitimate possibility based on their understanding of Scripture. Perhaps the most well known of these was the Anglican evangelical, John Stott. I believed a form of this teaching for many years when I was in the Worldwide Church of God. I no longer believe it to be the correct understanding, and I will try to briefly explain why.
Many of us are familiar with such passages as Ephesians 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.” And it is most certainly true that our salvation is entirely gracious. God gives it to us as a free gift. We cannot earn it; God never owes it to us.
There is an aspect to the Gospel that is not often mentioned in evangelism or even in scholarly discussions of the Gospel. But I don’t want to let it go unmentioned. It is an aspect that, for the most part, is now either overlooked completely or is completely distorted. What I have in mind is the “kingdom” facet of the Gospel.