Reddit Questions #2: Homosexuality, Mary reproducing, COVID, Ravi Zacharias, and hermeneutics
Would Mary giving birth to jesus count as reproduction?
No. Reproduction happens when sperm from a man meets the egg of a woman. It is then that the new person is formed. Jesus appeared in Mary’s womb as that fertilized egg. It was not human reproduction but divine incarnation.
Many Christians seem to believe that God will protect them personally from Covid if they pray enough, so that they don’t need to wear a mask. Do you share this belief?
No, one of the prime rules of healing is “pray for healing and take your medicine.” Similarly, with COVID-19, pray for protection and wear your mask.
How can you as a Christian, who had confidence in Ravi, and were sadly mistaken, trust the things you read about Jesus? How do you know you’re not mistaken as well?
I think you are conflating two different problems. RZ’s behavior revelations have deeply disturbed me, and I am very saddened that his ministry is now irrevocably tarnished. But one man’s hypocrisy does not lead me away from Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. How to deal with human sin is a different question than is Christianity true.
Another person responded: What do you know about Jesus that wasn’t written down by fallible men? If you were wrong about the trustworthiness of Ravi, could you also be wrong about the trustworthiness of those who wrote about Jesus?
Again you are mixing up concepts. You are also committing false cause/attribution logical fallacies. The Gospels, written by men under inspiration, gave specific revelation. Each gospel has been examined and re-examined ad infinitum. The evidence for the gospels’ historical legitimacy has been affirmed repeatedly by Christians and secular sources. This idea is entirely different from Ravi Zacharias, who was not writing scripture. Ravi was a brilliant speaker and writer. Although he lived a duplicitous life, what he wrote and spoke about is true or untrue based upon their own merits, not by his behavior. Yes, his behavior, revealed just after he died, tarnished his ministry. However, the truth is the truth, regardless of the deliverer of that truth. God used many morally compromised individuals in His work: Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Sampson, David, Solomon, Peter, Paul, to name a few. If you are honestly searching for truth, you will be more concerned with what is being said than the speaker’s lifestyle. It doesn’t make behavior irrelevant but puts it in the right place.
Would a gay Christian go to heaven?
The question is a good and relevant one but is pretty loaded. Embedded in your question are four questions.
1. Is homosexual behavior sinful – clearly, Biblically, unless you do many complicated eisogetic gymnastics, homosexual behavior is sinful. We can go through the Bible exegesis of those texts if you want. However, there is no getting around that it is a sin.
2. What is salvation – salvation is putting your faith, hope, and trust into Jesus as Savior. That’s it. We cannot work to earn salvation by doing a religious activity or avoid sin. Only by receiving the gift of salvation through the person of Jesus can a person start to get right with God. After one has put their faith in Messiah, then the believer is given God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit starts His sanctifying work in the believer, rooting out areas not yet turned over to God and revealing sin that needs forgiveness. If the believer decides to stay in sin, they risk damaging their relationship with Jesus and may not be saved.
3. Who spends eternity with God (Heaven) and who doesn’t – this is God’s call, not ours. God knows our hearts and if we have indeed given our lives to him. No human can ever say an individual is with God in Eternity or not.
4. What about same-sex attraction – here is where I differ from Christopher Yaun (look him up on YouTube). Same-sex attraction that does not lead to homosexual behavior is not a sin but indicates issues in s person’s life that need to be dealt with. Feelings are not sinful, but the behavior is.
Im very curious too hear why people start too read the Bible just too see if I can find any patterns in why people read it.
I first started reading the Bible in 7th grade (FYI, a long time ago) but didn’t get serious about it until 12 years ago. I was an elder at the church we were attending, and one of the ladies in the church challenged us to read the Bible through in one year. I took her up on the challenge and have read the Bible through every year since. Now, in my 50’s, I am getting an M-Div with a concentration in NT. This level of study is intense, but I have grown tremendously in my faith.
Taking passages out of context and faulty interpretation seem to be widespread among both those who quote from the Bible and those who want to criticize it. How can I avoid falling into this trap and improve my hermeneutics and exegesis, and encourage others to do the same?
This question is a great question! For starters, I suggest getting a book called “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth” by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. I have found this resource to be essential in developing my Hermeneutical chops. Some other things to think about have at least two translations that you study from. This book will give you a broader perspective on the text. The NIV / NASB combination is good. NKJV / ESV combo is also good.
Lastly, remember that the key to understanding the Bible is context. Context is king. Every word in the Bible is in the contest of the sentence it is in. Every sentence is in the context of the paragraph it is in. Every paragraph is in the context of the book that it is in. This context will help you understand what is being said by the writer through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.
Lastly, here is an excellent pattern to follow when doing Bible study:
- Observe – write down the who, what, and when of the passage. Write down keywords that are used and how they are used. Make these clean observations that speak to the fact of the text. Also, notice links to other texts in the Bible and observe how those texts apply to the one you are studying.
- Interpret – this is where you decide what the text means. Based on your observations, make one or two interpretations of the text. Use your study Bible, word studies, Bible dictionaries, commentaries, etc., to get different perspectives. You may have more than one interpretation of a passage. The Bible is rich in that way – you can never exhaust all that it has to teach you.
- Apply – now you take your interpretations, based upon your observations, and then apply them. Interpretations are what the text means. Applications should help you to incorporate those interpretations into your life.