Reflections on Christian Coaching

darryl speer

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a member of our church who is also actively involved in coaching.  I interviewed Darryl Speer, an elementary school basketball coach and a tee ball coach.  We discussed the integration of Christianity in coaching.  You can access that interview by clicking here.  As I reflect back upon our interview, I also find myself reflecting on Christian coaching in general.  Coaching, especially when performed by a Christian male, can have a profound influence on a young person if the following five principles are kept.

The Importance of Positive Male Role-Models


One thing that Darryl addressed, which is something that deserves more attention at a later date, is the impact of positive male role-models.  Let’s face it.  We live in a land of single mothers and dead-beat dads.  This is not always the case, but is to a great degree.  The real victims in this ordeal are the children involved.

Formerly, I worked in the school system.  I saw first-hand the impact upon a child who grows up with no father.  Mothers and fathers are vitally important to a child.  If you take one of the elements away from a child, it can be detrimental to a child.  Some children latched onto me because they needed a positive male role-model.

However, it must be said that if a male role-model is to be a role-model, he must be positive.  Children do not need negative influences. Many children who have absentee fathers only know their fathers from violent encounters, from behind a jail-cell, or from negligence.  This certainly is not the case with all single-parent homes.  For some, it is the mother who was a negligent, negative influence.  Nonetheless, male coaches need not to be remembered for yelling, screaming, cursing, and snorting.  Rather, the male coach, if desiring to be a role-model worthy of praise, needs to encourage, drive, and compliment the children so that they feel better about themselves.

The  Importance of Integrating Good Sportsmanship


Sports are competitive by nature.  Almost every coach desires to lead one’s team to victory.  Winning is fun but losing is not.  However, sportsmanship is becoming a lost art.  The coach cannot demand character from his/her players if he/she does not display genuine character as a coach.  This demands integrity.

Ultimately, Christian principles bring forth integrity which leads to character.  Many times character does not come from winning, but from losing.  As a popular sermon illustration goes, “Fruit does not grow on the mountaintop, it grows in the valley.”  The illustration shows that it is during the difficult times of life that character is grown.  Take the words of Paul who wrote, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3–5, NASB).  Character must be exhibited both in winning and in losing in order to achieve a maximum impact as a positive male role-model.

The Importance of Equality


Darryl Speer, the coach we interviewed, said something of great importance when he said, “We have learned to be impartial.  I have to treat my girl…the same as anyone else on the team” (Darryl Speer, Episode 36 “Christianity in Coaching,” Redeeming Truth Radio).  This is important.  Many of the great problems in sports have come from partiality.  The Bible says that the Pharisees and Herodians said of Jesus (although they were trying to trap Him), “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth” (Mark 12:14, NASB).  We are not to show partiality.  Coaches, especially Christian coaches, should not show partiality to any child regardless of race, gender, or even creed.  You will not show a person of another faith the love of Christ by being impartial to them.  Politics should absolutely play no role in this kind of equality.

The Importance of Evangelism


It is difficult to have a full-impact unless you have great faith.  In some areas and in some places, this may be difficult.  The coach cannot bluntly say, “You gonna accept Christ?  Huh, huh, huh???”  Especially in this hyper-sensitive culture in which we live, the Christian coach must be careful in how he or she evangelizes.  However, the Christian can still show forth the message of the gospel in the way he/she lives, by the way he/she prays, and by the way he/she treats others.  The Christian coach may not be allowed to lead a team prayer.  But, the Christian coach has every bit of right to pray on his/her own time.  Do the children witness the coach praying at mealtime?  Do the children see the coach reading his/her Bible during spare time?  These are powerful ways to be a witness.  Rest assured; people may try to stop Christianity, but God has a way of leading the wayward heart to Him.  Isn’t it about glorifying God in the first place?

The Importance of Prioritization


Finally, the element of prioritization exists.  Although I appreciate various sports leagues, I will be the first to admit that I am adamantly against leagues scheduling games on Sunday mornings.  There is, quite frankly, no excuse in my eyes that exists for planners of these leagues to schedule games during this time.  If there are scheduling conflicts, that lies on the planners of the leagues.  Many parents are put into a paradox on Sunday mornings due to these scheduling conflicts   Every parent must make their own decision.  However, I will go on record to say that my child will not be allowed to play in any league that schedules games on Sunday mornings…period.  He will be able to play in any sport that he chooses, if he chooses to play.  He will be allowed to play as much as he wants to play, but not on Sunday mornings.  If he chooses to play the guitar instead, that will be fine, too.  If he chooses to paint and become an artist, that will be fine, too.  If he chooses to hit the books and become a scholar, that will be fine, too.  Be that as it may; I have to answer for what I do and others will have to answer for what they do.  So, I say this not to judge, but to bring out an important question, what holds the greatest priority in your life?  If you want to be a positive Christian influence, then Christ must be on center stage.

If a parent chooses to allow one’s child to play on Sunday mornings, spiritual disciplines cannot be ignored.  When one does not engage in spiritual disciplines (daily prayer, Bible study, regular church attendance, and so on), the person will find oneself slipping into a backslidden condition.  Can a person worship God on the ballfield?  Possibly.  But, it is not likely.  Nothing takes the place of the preaching, teaching, and study of the Word of God.  If one allows their child to play on Sunday morning, it is vitally important for the parent and the child to be in church on Sunday night, Wednesday night, or both.  If your church does not have services at these times, find a Bible-believing church that does hold services at these times until the league is over and then are able to go back to your home church.  Also, don’t forget to send in your tithes if you are going to be gone for an extended period of time.  If too many Christians stay gone for too long, there won’t be a church in which to return.  Remember, if parents do not place Christ at the epicenter of their lives, what makes them think that their children will???

You don’t think church attendance and spiritual disciplines matter?  Well, you are reading from a writer who backslid from God for seven years.  It did not happen overnight.  The process of backsliding is a slow, meticulous process that ends in disaster.  The most important decision is to have Christ as the Lord of one’s life.  Some hope that his or her child will go pro.  Remember, many professional athletes have made millions only to lose it all due to unChristlike behaviors.

Why do I mention this?  Well, if there is one thing that I have learned from working with children, it is that children know when someone is legit and when someone is simply blowing smoke.  If you are desiring to be a positive Christian coach, parent or leader; you MUST be a Christian and you MUST have your service to Christ as your chief priority.  The children will not take the coach seriously about the coach’s faith unless the coach is serious about his own faith.  That goes not only for coaches, but also for parents and any person of influence.


When put in proper perspective, sports can be a wonderful way for children to have fun and learn life principles.  The coach can be a great catalyst to bring forth positive Christian values to a child.  There exists a HUGE demand for positive, Christian, male coaches in our day in time.  But what must be stressed is the importance of character in the coach.  This is something that is missing in many men in our day and time.  Oh, that God would bring up Christian men of integrity that will make a positive impact in the world for Christ!


Finding Fault with God

Finding Fault with God


Just a thought.  Can God win with us?  Is it not odd that people seem to desire to pick a reason to be angry with God?  Some people get angry at God because they think that God does nothing about sinful humanity.  Then, when disasters strike, people desire to say that God is morally corrupt for allowing disasters to strike, or some will even claim that this demotes the legitimacy of a loving, powerful God.  (Consider the protection that God gave to many who prayed in His name throughout the storm.  I think there is great power in the amazing, miraculous stories of protection by prayer that we have heard in Oklahoma.)

The same is true for the Bible.  If certain passages correlate well, some may claim, “Well, the correlation proves that the Bible is in error because the apostles must have worked together to create a work of fiction.”  Then when apparent passages do not correlate, those same people will claim, “Well, that proves that the Bible is erred because there are differences in the text.”  Without looking into the evidence, many will discredit the Bible regardless of what they might find.  Does this really tell us anything about the Bible’s veracity or the skeptic’s bias?

God can’t win with us.  We will complain if bad things happen.  We will complain if bad things do not happen.  We complain if it is too hot.  We complain if it is too cold.  Many skinny people are angry with God because they cannot gain weight.  Many heavier people are angry with God because they cannot lose weight.  Young people want God to speed up time to make them older so that they can have freedom.  Older people want God to reverse time in order to make them younger.  ARE WE EVER HAPPY???

God definitely hears our prayer and answers prayer according to God’s will.  But, let’s try this on for size.  “GOD STILL KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING.”  This does not mean that it is wrong to ask the big questions.  We ask big questions right here on this website.  But, let’s be honest. Many, if not most, of us are not going to be content no matter what comes our way.  However, it does not have to be this way.  At the heart of this mentality is found a flawed theology; a theology that considers that God owes us something.  We are the creations of God and not the other way around.  This does not mean that there are not reasons for God’s allowance of such things.  It may just mean that we might not understand the full impact of such events on this side of eternity, but would that not be what we would expect being finite and God being infinite?  We do not have to live in discontentment.

Through Christ Jesus, we can be content.  Why?  Christ gives us contentment because of the promises that He gives us.  He never told us that life would be easy.  He did not say that the storms would not come.  He promised that He would be with us through the storm.  He never promised that diseases would not raid our bodies.  He promised that He would give us strength to endure.  He did not promise to remove the thorns.  He promised that He would give us roses despite the thorns.  Life is difficult.  In a few weeks, we will seek to provide some basis for understanding natural disasters and things of the sort.  But, I’ll give away one of the answers already.  God promised to be with us through it all.  The One who made the universe, the galaxies, the stars, the planets, the mountains, and the oceans told us, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NASB).  Through this, we can learn to be content.  Paul wrote, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NASB).  Through the assurance we have of heaven, one can rest easy.  We can enjoy this life and have the promise of an even more blissful life with God in eternity.  Happiness is fleeting and possessions are temporary, but the contentment that we can find in Christ Jesus is eternal.  Let us thank Him for the blessings of life.  You might just find the Son shine through the midst of your storm.

goNewOne 001

Our prayers are with those who suffered in the Oklahoma tornadoes.  To help out those in need, click here to help by way of the American Red Cross.


Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Brian Chilton

Necessity of One God, Not Many

To hear the broadcast of the show related to this topic.  Click here.

Necessity of One God, Not Many

Pastor Brian Chilton


Many worldviews hold to polytheism.  Polytheism is the belief in multiple gods or goddesses.  Hindus are polytheistic as are Mormons.  Hindus believe that God takes multiple manifestations in a variety of avatars.  Whereas, Mormons believe that a Mormon couple can become their own gods and populate their own particular planet.  LDS theology also ascribes to the belief that we exist from a union of a Father God and a Mother Goddess.  However, when we understand what I call the necessity of existence, the reader will find that multiple gods and goddesses are not necessary.

Necessity of Existence


Necessity of existence means that a person, being, or force necessarily exists due to the nature of a certain effect.  In other words, a creation demands a creator.  Understanding the biology of life, it is understood that my existence demands the existence of parents.  Due to biology and life, my existence came from a mother and a father.  Does this show the LDS theology as true?  Not really.  Hold on and I will show you why.  A mother and father are demanded because I exist regardless of whether you know my mother and father or not.  The child necessitates two parents.  This is not the only illustration we could use.


Think of the portrait Mona Lisa.  Leonardo da Vinci painted the portrait in the 1500s.  But even if we did not know Leonardo da Vinci, the philosopher could logically deduce that Leonardo da Vinci existed, even if Leonardo’s name was unknown, by the fact that the portrait exists.  The creation necessitates a creator.

Recently, this writer purchased a Toyota car.  Even though the names of the designer and creators of the car are unknown, the existence of a Toyota car in my parking lot necessitates the existence of a group of people creating the car.  The creation demands designers.  Some may read this and say, “Well, couldn’t it be argued that a group of gods and/or goddesses created the universe and everything in it?”  Some could argue this, but when the necessity of the universal creator is known, multiple gods/goddesses are not necessary.

The Necessary Essentials of a Creator


Understanding the logic from before, it can be deduced that a creator is necessary for the universe.  In recent years, it has been accepted by nearly everyone that the universe had a beginning.  This is a fact established long ago in Scripture.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NASB).  The writer of Hebrews states, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made of the things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3, NASB).  From these verses, it can be established even scripturally that the universe had a beginning and is even expanding.  Isaiah writes, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in” (Isaiah 40:22, NASB).[1]  Some attributes of the Creator can be seen from the creation.

First, the existence of God is necessitated.  For anything to exist, a Creator must exist.  Earlier, the illustration of da Vinci was used.  In like manner, one could postulate that the masterpiece of creation painted on the canvass known as the universe demands, or necessitates, the existence of the Grand Artist: God.  God’s existence is necessitated.  Many atheists will seek to bend the laws of logic to make God unnecessary, but such philosophies are found to be in want.  The only logically sound explanation is the necessity of God’s existence.

Second, the Creator must exceed the power found in the universe.  The sum of the power of the universe must be able to be manipulated by the One who brought forth the universe.  Therefore, this Creator must be All-Powerful…or Omnipotent.

Third, the universe was brought into existence at a certain point in time.  From that point onward, time as we know it began to exist.  Therefore, the Creator must be beyond the scope of time.  Hence, the Creator must be beyond time…or eternal.

Fourth, the universe’s laws began to exist at the point in time of it’s’ creation.  This means that all the formulations of the universe, the laws of physics, and the laws of nature began to exist at this point.  Therefore, the Creator must hold wisdom beyond that which is found in the universe.  Hence, the Creator must be super intelligent…or omniscient.

Fifth, the universe holds within it a moral code.  Love must first be understood before hate can be known.  A standard of perfection must exist before it can be known what is less than perfect.  Therefore, the Creator must be holy and loving…or omnibenevolent.

Do these characteristics ring a bell?  These characteristics should sound familiar to the theologian and the philosopher because they are terms that are used to describe the God of the Bible.  Now, could more than one God exist?

It is possible that a plethora of gods exist, but it really is not necessary.  For eventually, one primary God is necessitated.  A God that is eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, and all-loving holds no equal.  Anselm of Canterbury in the Proslogion stated that God was “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” (Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion).  A single God is necessitated by this characteristic.  This is not to say that God could not have created lower gods and goddesses.  But those created gods and goddesses would not be worthy of worship…only the Prime God would be worthy of such worship.  The Bible tells us of heavenly beings that God created known as angels, but makes sure to show that angels are not to be worshipped.  John the Revelator discovered this as he documented in Revelation, “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.  But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God” (Revelation 22:6-9, NASB).  With this in mind, some accuse Christians of holding to a “tri-theism” or a belief in three gods.  Is this true?

Is Christianity Guilty of “Tri-Theism”?


Although a proper exposition of the Trinity needs to be conducted to understand the issue completely (perhaps the topic for another article), here it is only necessary to address the issue of the Christian belief in the Trinity.  For Christians, the Trinity is the belief in One God in three persons.  The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit’s divine persona are seen in the baptism of Jesus.  Matthew records,

Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him.  But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”  But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.  After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:13-17, NASB).

The Father is seen speaking from heaven. The Son is seen being baptized in the water.  The Holy Spirit is seen descending like a dove.  All three are described by divine characteristics.  In the end, the Christian believes that there exists only One God: but that the One God has three personas in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The best way to illustrate the previous statement is to think about oneself.  This writer is a father to his son, a husband to his wife, and a son to his parents; yet one person.  This is about the best way to illustrate the Trinity: One God in three persons.


Many would like to think that God is not necessary.  My son likes for me to think according to this logic.  Just now as I type this article, I heard a crash in the living room.  I asked my son, “Honey, what did you do?”  He said, “I didn’t do anything.  My toys fell down and made a mess.”  Everyone knows that it was my son who pulled the toys down and made the mess.  The toys crashing to the floor were in direct response to my son’s tugging on them.  Likewise, our existence and the existence of all of creation necessitate the existence of a powerful, knowledgeable, eternal, ever-present, all loving Creator.  If one being meets these characteristics, no other is needed.

 Forgiven Photo

Would you like to personally know this God?  You can.  Simply invite Him into your life by using a sample prayer like that below.

“Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I do not deserve eternal life. But, I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life.”

[1] From this verse, two profound truths are brought forth.  One, Isaiah shows that the earth is not flat, but round.  Two, Isaiah shows that God expanded the universe.  Not only did Isaiah get the earth’s shape correct, Isaiah also was correct in describing the beginning and expansion of the universe.

Ponderings of a Finale and a Foul-up

Ponderings of a Finale and a Foul-up

By: Pastor Brian Chilton

This week of television has presented a great surprise in a finale of a nine-year network comedy show and has also presented a major “foul-up” of a popular American Christian evangelist.  In this brief article, I wish to share with you some thoughts from both of these shows.  The great irony is that I must commend a non-Christian show and chastise a Christian show.

The Office

First, I would like to commend the NBC show The Office for a nine-year run which is amazing especially for a modern television series.  Although The Office was not always on the up and up when it came to morality (it did promote things that go against Christian principles…which is not unusual for modern shows), the show did present some valuable life lessons.  This Thursday, the series ended its’ nine-year run with an hour long show.

The series finale was, honestly, one of the best finales to any show that I have ever watched.  Although my favorite all-time show is The Andy Griffith Show, the finale to the Andy Griffith Show only promoted a new series Mayberry R.F.D. and left a lot of storylines open…such as the status of Barney Fife, one of the hit characters of the show.  The Office closed out all the main storylines in an amazing way.  With the storyline of Dwight and Angela, the moral of true love wins out can be seen.  With the storyline of Erin and her parents, the moral of forgiveness can be seen.  With the amazing twist in the return of Michael Scott, morals in friendship and family can be seen.  Finally, with the central storyline of Jim and Pam, the moral of fighting for one’s family and the moral of true love endures can both be seen.  I think one of the greatest lessons of the finale was the importance given to life’s small things.  As Pam, played by Jenna Fischer, said, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.  Isn’t that kind of the point?”  Although the writers and producers of The Office may not have been Christians; and yes, there were inappropriate moments and inappropriate behaviors in the finale; but, they did bring together a great finale that even Christians can appreciate despite the inappropriate moments.  The Christian can, especially, take joy in even the ordinary moments and in the ordinary things.  God has an amazing way of making something extraordinary out of those moments that we perceive to be ordinary.  So, two thumbs up for the finale of The Office.

Pat Robertson

Second, I would like to express concern over the recent comments made by Pat Robertson on the 700 Club.  Pat Robertson was asked by a woman, whose husband had cheated on her, how to get over the husband’s cheating.  She had expressed that they had gone to counseling, but she had a difficult time forgiving him.  Robertson replied with, “Here’s the secret, stop talking about the cheating. He cheated on you. Well, he’s a man, okay…Recognize, also, like it or not, males have a tendency to wander a little bit, and what you want to do is make a home so wonderful that he doesn’t want to wander…

  • Focus on why you married him in the first place…

Does he provide food, shelter, clothing? Is he nice to the children and does he do things with them?

  • Is he handsome?

Fall in love with him all over again…

  • Touch his face, hold his hand, look into his eyes…

Don’t focus on what makes you mad, just the good stuff…

  • Give him honor…

Keep in mind that there’s a lot of pornography out there, to which men are enticed every day” (Robertson, 700 Club, 5/16/13).


What in the world???  Let me say that I have held a lot of respect for Pat Robertson, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and the 700 Club.  But, Robertson needs to come out and repent of his statements.  How can you blame the woman for a man’s cheating?  Yes, as the cliche’ goes, “It takes two to tango.”  Yes, the woman could have been guilty of some things.  But, that does not excuse the husband for CHEATING!!!  No, Mr. Robertson, not every man cheats.  I am a man.  I am married.  I don’t cheat on my wife!!!  No, Mr. Robertson, being a man does not necessitate cheating.  I have known some couples where it was the WOMAN who had stepped out on the husband!!!  So much for that philosophy!

In the end, we need to remember the biblical commandment for husbands: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.  FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH” (Ephesians 5:25–31, NASB).  In a land of single-mothers and “no show” dads, I think Christian leaders need to focus, not on excusing a man’s infidelities, but on directing men to be real men, by loving their wives with the same type of unconditional love that Paul commands in the previous text.  Pray for Pat Robertson that he may repent of his unbiblical stances on marriage and come back to being the Bible teacher that we all know that he can be.

Love in Christ and Take Pride in the Ordinary Moments,

Pastor Brian Chilton

“The Problem of Evil” by Drew Payne

The Problem of Evil
Addressed from a Philosophical Perspective
J. Andrew Payne

Foreword: Last week, we posted an article addressing the co-existence of a loving, powerful God with the presence of suffering and evil.  We approached the issue from a more theological perspective.  In today’s article, our resident philosopher, Drew Payne, examines the issue from a philosophical perspective.  Granted, philosophy and theology are intertwined to a great degree especially when relating to God and the world.  Be that as it may, it is our prayer that with both articles that you will be left with a working basis on how to handle the issue of suffering and evil in light of the existence of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God.  -Pastor Brian Chilton

Drew Payne

            As last week focused on the theological justification of why God would allow suffering in the world, this week has been scheduled to address the problem philosophically. Before we begin, however, there is a point which merits a brief digression. That point is the charge of “moral insensitivity” that can often be thrust at the rather callous seeming answers to this problem of evil that philosophy often grants.

As evil has the propensity to evoke an emotional reaction, especially to those whom the problem of evil has recently effected, I must ask that the reader consider what is said and not just merely reject it because it sounds callous. Rather, carefully weigh what is proposed based on the merits of the claims here laid forth. Though I do not agree with his stance as an Open Theist, Peter van Inwagen well answered the charge of moral insensitivity when he wrote, “Philosophy is hard. Thinking clearly for an extended period is hard. It is easier to pour scorn on those who disagree with you than actually to address their argument.”[1] All too often this is the response, and I here ask that the reader put aside any inclinations to do so and consider what is being said of its own virtue.

The Typical Answers of Philosophy

plato aristotle

            Philosophers have wrestled with this problem for as long as philosophy has existed and have come up with a plethora of answers. Some have been incredibly effective though unsatisfying while others have been short sighted and ultimately ineffective. To a degree, the question must always remain a mystery as nineteenth century Thomist philosopher Jacques Maritain maintained. Still, though there is no great or common consensus regarding the answers to the issue, by no means does it follow that the problem has not been answered.

The problem, which is admittedly predominately a religious one[2], must reconcile what seems initially irreconcilable. As the great Enlightenment skeptic, David Hume, put it, “Is (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil?”[3] Is it even possible for there to be a loving, all powerful, omniscient God in a world that seems inundated with evil? Such is the dilemma that is our topic of discussion here.

To begin with, I will here outline a few approaches to the problem that have been offered throughout the history of philosophy. The first of the views which we will be discussing is that of philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. Though this will by no means be a comprehensive look at his philosophy, it will nevertheless give a summary of what is important for our purposes.

Leibniz is an Enlightenment adumbration of the approach to the problem of evil that will be predominantly adopted by analytic Christian philosophers of our contemporary times. He theorized that God was rightly defined as the Scholastic philosopher Anselm had written of Him; that God is the greatest thing of which nothing greater can be conceived. God is thus a perfect being in every sense of the word. This definition, though, would prevent God from being able to create anything equal to Him, let alone greater. If God is the greatest being, beyond which nothing greater can be conceived, and God is also perfect, then it is a contradiction to presume God to be able to create anything that is perfect. Here, Leibniz takes hold of the Scholastic definition of God, yet misunderstands it, seeing God’s perfection in terms of degree. For the medieval philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, perfection was not rightly understood as the highest of degrees, but rather as completeness, or more accurately lacking nothing.

This misunderstanding ultimately is Leibniz’s undoing. God is understood as differing from His creation not in kind, but by degree. Thus all He has to work with when creating the world is a bunch of imperfect parts. With these He must merely to the best He can. So God, who is the greatest being, must also do that which is the greatest of his potential actions. As being is better than non-being, then God must create. Thus the world that He will create will also be the greatest possible world. Yet this world of necessity must be fallen due to the logical constraints of the order of the world.

Leibniz points out that presuming God to be omnipotent is in no way threatened by His inability to do logically contradictory things. As C.S. Lewis astutely pointed out, “Meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other worlds ‘God can’.”[4] From this Leibniz merely concludes that this must necessarily mean that any world greater than this one in which we live must of necessity be a logical impossibility. Presumably each facet, or state of affairs (technically speaking), that God seeks to create the world with logically necessitate that what is created entails evil.

This argument seeks to answer the problem and preserve God’s goodness by arguing that He’s doing the best He can with the cards that He’s dealt (though few who hold to such a view would put it in such terms). The logical necessities of freewill, of God being the greatest possible being, etc, constrain God so that anything better than this is literally unfathomable and impossible. There are many issues that I have with such a view.

Criticisms of the Best of All Possible Worlds


The first problem is not so much a problem of logic but rather more properly understood as an observation of the effects of the above outline view. If the world in which we live is the best of all possible worlds, then of what hope is the afterlife? How is heaven rendered if what we exist in now is the best? Logically either heaven is no greater than the world in which we live, and thus nothing more than a possible change in scenery, or it is worse. Such a view, though not a contradiction, is still a rather absurd consequence that should alone deter one from embracing the above view.

The second issue is that the above view seeks to depict God as doing the best He can with the cards that He’s dealt, while forgetting that it is God who created the cards. Metaphysically, if we accept the classical approach to God (as I do), God exists as the uncaused cause. By definition He is the cause and creation is the effect. It must be noted that causation is a one way road. Cases have effects yet effects cannot affect the cause. Simply put, this is the very heart of the Creator/creature distinction. If this is true, then it seems absurd to imply that creation can in any way limit God as it is God who establishes the bounds and limitations of things, and He does so from infinity. Limiting God’s ability through created things literally limits His ability to create and once this is done, you no longer are dealing with a truly infinite God. This leads into my third problem with the above outlined view.

It is of no small importance, this term infinity. Technically speaking it is a negative term that merely exists as a negation of the finite. It literally means not-finite. Saying what a thing is not is far from saying what a thing is, and it is so with our understanding of God. Gaining a clear understanding of what God is not is important if we are to approach Him properly. One must understand that God is infinite. However, the negative term infinite comes with a set of consequences, and to declare that the world we live in is the greatest possible world, is to transgress what is properly understood as infinite.

The infinite cannot be divided. The idea of two infinites is incoherent as one infinite, by the law of identity, would not be the other infinite, and thus neither can be properly said to be infinite. Thus God, if He is infinite as we maintain, must also be simple. One cannot merely come to know a part of Him, as there are no parts if He is infinite. Though the word infinite entails in its meaning a loss of all limitations, the term itself is a great limitation to our language. We come to realize that there is no way our words can adequately speak of the infinite. Though I can speak or write the word, its true meaning cannot be contained in the sign infinite. Perhaps then, what is really meant by the term infinite is little more than “I know not what.” For if to understand the infinite is to grasp all of it, then such a task is impossible for one who is finite. The moment I speak of God, who is infinite, my language denigrate the true meaning of what I say so that what I say no longer applies properly to Him. It is also worth stating here that it is an equivocation to assume that the infinity of which I here write is the same idea of the infinite that mathematicians speak of. These two views will be further addressed later.

If God’s perfection is to be understood in terms of degree, of which He is merely at the highest possible point, then His very nature cannot be infinite. For God’s nature being perfect by degree would mean that there is no higher degree to aspire to. Thus also to say that this is the best possible world is to say that He can do no better. Such views do not understand what is properly meant by infinity. There is no ‘best possible’ with God; there is only His perfection.

C.S. Lewis and the Contemporary Approach


            Though Leibniz is not explicitly the view that is taken by many contemporary philosophers, he is at least implicitly influencing the approach. Whether it is the brilliant essay by Alvin Plantinga or the piquant argument put forth by Peter van Inwagen, the approach has become somewhat generic. It begins by establishing that God can do all things logically possible as Leibniz had argued. Following this the burden of evil is laid on the guilty shoulders of man’s freewill (though I must stress that it does not merit libertarian freewill to make this claim as Alvin Plantinga is considered to be largely of a Reformed view). All that is left, seemingly, is to establish how God denying man’s freewill would be a contradiction and thus God, to an extent, God is constrained into allowing the evil of the world in order to achieve a greater good. This strategy is often used to great effect and is largely considered to have won the day.

C.S. Lewis also followed in the strategy of Leibniz to a small degree while also adding to the approach two more distinctions. The first is that he pointed out that there is a difference between evil and pain. Pain is often a good thing. To one who has just complete a strenuous workout, a degree of pain in the muscles can actually even be pleasurable, thus pain itself should not properly be considered to be evil. It is often something that is also used to indicate a greater danger and prevent a yet further danger from becoming actualized. This observation thus allows the problem of pain to be essentially crossed off of the list of problems to be reconciled. His second point is far more problematic, though.

Lewis writes early on in his work, The Problem of Pain, of God’s moral judgments. He wrote, “On the other hand, if God’s moral judgment differs from ours so that our ‘black’ may be His ‘white’, we can mean nothing by calling Him good; for to say ‘God is good’, while asserting that His goodness is wholly other than ours, is really only to say ‘God is we know not what’. And an utterly unknown quality in God cannot give us moral grounds for loving or obeying Him. If He is not (in our sense) ‘good’ we shall obey, if at all, only through fear—and should be equally ready to obey an omnipotent Fiend.”[5] I do not think that one has to be a Calvinist as I am to be perturbed by that claim. Such a view places God as one who is to be judged by man. It also separates goodness from where it properly belongs as one of the attributes of God. This view was adopted by atheist philosopher William Rowe who noted that “the dominant answer in religious thinking concerning God and morality is that what God commands is morally right independent of his commands. God’s commanding us to perform certain actions does not make those actions morally right; they are morally right independent of his commands and he commands them because he sees that they are morally right.”[6] If this is so then God can be held accountable to such a law as it is apart from even Him.

Again let us examine God as the uncaused cause of all things. If He exists as such then it is literally incoherent to assert that goodness exists apart from Him because outside of Him is nothing. To exist is to have being and if God is the subsistent source of all being then one cannot say that moral law exists apart from God. Rather, moral goodness must be one with His being. So how are we to understand the good? To a degree I must embrace what Lewis ardently rejected. To a degree we cannot perfectly know the good. To more properly answer this I must explain the doctrine of analogy.

Classically, there are two ways one can speak about God: the via negativa, and the doctrine of analogy. The via negativa literally means “the way of negations.” It is a way of explaining what God is not. He is not-evil, He is immutable (not able to be changed), He is infinite. Though this can explain some of the ways we approach God, it can by no means be assumed to be the only way we speak of God. The way in which we speak positively of God is understood through the doctrine of analogy.

An analogy is nothing complicated and should not intimidate the reader simply because the word “doctrine” is placed before it. Currently my neighbor is a survivor of the Jewish holocaust. I have had the honor of hearing him speak of his experiences in the concentration camps and struggle to imagine just exactly what he endured. Though no matter how hard I imagine what he endured, I can never truly know what he endured. What I imagine of his horrific experiences is known mostly through analogy. When explaining to me what he experienced, he must do so by telling me that it was like something else which I do have experience of. (He might say that experiencing winters in the ghettos of Poland were like enduring the coldest winters I’ve ever seen, only greater still without any respite.) Always contained within an analogy is a reference to a common experience. However, the knowledge that is gained through analogies is not properly speaking actually of the thing the analogy is being compared to. Thus when the doctrine of analogy is applied to God I still am not understanding truly what God is by understanding Him through analogy, yet I am gaining proper knowledge on how to approach Him.

Good in creation is to be understood as the proper way of existing. God created a proper order in the universe and it is rightly functioning in that universe that is what is considered good. More broadly, merely existence itself is properly understood as good as it is from God that existence comes and all things from God are good. So that raises the question of what it means for a thing to be bad. Metaphysically evil must be understood as a privation. But what does this mean?

A privation is not like a negation which is just simply a denial of being. Rather, a privation is a denial of some property which a thing ought to possess. A common example of this is blindness existing in an eye. When properly functioning an eye should possess sight yet when an eye is blind such a property is denied. This is the idea of a privation. How evil exists as a privation is well captured when one surveys the language we use when describing evil. For example, when surveying the shocking evil of the holocaust, it is not uncommon for someone to say, “This should not be.” In that declarative sentence one can see what is fully meant by the terms good and evil. To be good is to be properly. To be evil is to be, still, but rather to be not as a thing should be. Evil remains a negative term, as it can be seen that evil is not properly a thing. Yet evil does exist as it is that things exist, and evil exists as a perversion of how it should be.

Thus to answer Lewis’ assertion, it can never be proper to hold God in judgment of evil for evil is impossible for God to do. It is no arbitrary statement to declare that God cannot do evil because of His nature, for to assert that God does evil would be incoherent. It is no limitation, it is rather a contradiction. Thus it becomes a most profound declaration to proclaim that God is good because He is.

God, Evil, and the Great Mystery


            “I AM.” This is the statement God gave Moses when he told him to go to the Egyptians and free God’s people. Such a statement is endlessly profound and has blown away many scholastic philosophers from Medieval times through now. But as must now be seen with that, above the mere metaphysical statement trumpeted God as the uncaused cause of the universe long before Plato or Aristotle ever walked the earth, implicit within that declaration is the reminder that God is good.

Though all the talk of metaphysics, privations, and analogy can leave little comfort to those who are suffering, the powerful and profound yet gentle reassurance that God is good can work wonders. And it is this one point which must be grasped and held to as tightly as one can when approaching the problem of evil. God is good.

There are only two ways that we can come to know. One is through experience and the other is through revelation. Though we experience evil as an effect, we are hard pressed to be able to grasp or understand evil ontologically. The reason for evils existence lies in the mind of God and to a degree is unknowable to us. Thus experience affords us no answer to our problem. So it is that we must turn to revelation. Such revelation has been granted us in God’s word. Yet that book, our most holy and sacred Bible, to my knowledge does not tell us the reason why sin exists. We can attribute it to the fall, yet we cannot know why God even allowed the fall in the first place.

Some intellectuals, such as C.S. Lewis, have declared that God used the fall, and the effects of evil, to teach us of a different side of Him that we otherwise would not have known. It is used to teach us of God’s greatness and prepare us for our future in heaven. Thus those who experience such terrible effects of evil are to rejoice because they have will see an even greater God. Such a view is incredibly flawed. To begin with, not all are going to heaven and it is far from just the Christians who suffer the effects of sin. Indeed the greatest effect of sin is suffered by those who are damned to hell for all of eternity, never to be filled with the reward of the experience of the divine. Thus viewing evil as a learning tool is somewhat shortsighted.

Secondly, if it is through terrible evil that we come to learn even more about God, then why are things not worse still? It seems somewhat arbitrary that things are only this bad and not worse. If the greater the evil the more of God that we come to know, why are we not to experience yet even more evil than we are already? And in light of an infinite God, there is not a level of potential evil that we could experience that would not be arbitrary. Further still, if it is merely used as a tool to show us an aspect of God that we otherwise might not have seen, does this not mean that there must be aspects of God that we will never know? After all, surely one is not to declare that it is through this that we come to know more of God. As has already been established, dichotomizing God as such is a rather incoherent idea. It is all or nothing. Anything else makes no sense.

Could evil be reconciled by declaring that God will bring about a greater good through allowing such evil? Certainly not. I cannot stress enough that an infinite God needs nothing. It is God that limits creation, not creation that limits God. Thus God cannot need certain evils to bring about a certain good. After all, of what comfort would it be to appeal to a God who needed evil in some cases? Further still, God does not exist for the purpose of maximizing our happiness. He is not some sort of divine utilitarian. Whatever His plan may be, it is far greater than merely arranging the best possible world to cultivate our happiness while we’re here.

So how can evil be reconciled with God? I am afraid I can only answer this by admitting humbly that it is a mystery. Yet as comfortless as this answer might at first seem, consider that we have not been told to endure this alone. I submit that the Christian answer to the problem of evil must be understood in light of the cross. In fact I know of no aspect of the Christian message that can afford to move away from the cross. It is our very life.

Interestingly enough this very problem and this very answer were at the center of the oldest work of philosophy known to man: the book of Job. Throughout the book, Job is declaring his innocence (as even God Himself attested to) and asking for the problem of evil and suffering to be answered. The debate between Job and his companions is centered around this issue with the friends offering a systematized answer seeking to know the limitations and bounds of God and therein trap Him, constraining His power in order to answer the problem of evil. I wonder if we do not often enough do likewise today. Yet when God finally arrives on the scene, He rebukes the friends and it is Job himself, the one who had been accused of great evil by the friends, who intercedes with God on their behalf. God declares plainly that Job’s friends have not spoken truthfully of Him. Consider now the beginning of His answer to Job:

“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?…Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?…Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recess of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.” (Job 38:2-18)

In this grand and glorious passage, God puts Job in his place, yet He does not answer Job beyond the reminder that God is in charge of all things. God is, and He is good. Yet we are not bereft of comfort, for God does not subject us to this arbitrarily. For at the cross, Jesus—God in human form—came to earth and subjected Himself to the full force and fury and wickedness of man. He took upon Himself the weight of the burden of sin and evil and bore it for us. And though I do not suggest that this was His primary reason in coming, I submit that it is at least implicit in His coming was the assurance that we are not enduring this suffering alone. God’s love for us was so great that He humbled Himself so far as to endure the effects of evil along with us. It must never be forgotten that God does not only subject us to the suffering, though it is only rightly us who deserve it as it is man, not God, who is guilty of sin, but endured it for us. Of this Spurgeon wrote, “(Christ) looks beyond the Roman spear and nail, beyond the Jewish taunt and jeer, up to the Sacred Fount, whence all things flow, and traces the crucifixion of Christ to the breast of Deity. He believes with Peter—‘Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.’ We dare not impute to God the sin, but at the same time the fact, with all its marvelous effects in the world’s redemption, we must ever trace to the Sacred Fountain of divine love.”[7]

God should not be thought here to be a masochist of some sort, for that would be illogical. Instead it would be more proper to remember the work He did on the cross. Not only is it to be seen as a comfort in that it is the tool of His salvation. But further still we should look to the cross as a reassurance that God is good, and we are not asked to suffer alone. The answer is ultimately a mystery. And yet the answer is also a reminder. Though a mystery may seem unsatisfactory, this does not mean we should seek out whatever lie might bring us peace. Rather, we should turn to face God, and in Him find our peace as He reminds us again and again that He is, and that He is good.

 God is good

[1] Peter van Inwagen, “The Problem of Evil” in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 190-191.

[2] Though I must here concede that the problem is a religious problem, an equally curious problem exists for those who do not believe in the existence of an all powerful God. The problem of evil, for the non-believer is reduced to a mere aesthetic distaste for what is perceived as evil. There is no ultimate meaning or reason to reconcile the problem with, thus the experience of evil can be merely reduced to subjectively dissatisfying events. Contrarily to this, though, if such things as meaning and purpose are reduced to nothingness—mere subjective experience—then one has no way to explain the nature and existence of the good either. If there is no wrong way of being, there is also no right way of being. As the atheist existentialist philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre, put it, all such ideas of good and bad are mere nothingness.

 [3] David Hume, Dialogs Concerning Natural Religion ( New York: Penguin Books, 1990), 108-109.

 [4] C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Harper Collins, 1960), 18.

[5] Ibid., 28-29.

[6]William L. Rowe, “Divine Power, Goodness, and Knowledge,” in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 22.

[7] Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Death of Christ” in Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 4 (Peabody, MA, Hendrickson Publishers, 2011), 210.

Tentative Schedule for Upcoming Articles and Shows


Next Week:     The Problem of God and Suffering, Part 2…Philosophical Perspective (Article pending by Drew Payne);

May 20th:      If One God is Necessary, Multiple Gods Are Not

May 27th:      Christianity in Coaching (Perspectives Learned from Christian Coach Darryl Speer)

June 3rd:        Has Professional Sports Lost Its’ Professionalism?

June 10th:     The Problem of Natural Evil and Suffering (An Interview with Cindy Smith)

June 17th:     Why is Prayer So Important?

June 24th:      Dangers of Cultic Churches: How Good Theological Churches Can Become “Cult-like”

July 1st:          Has America Become a “Post-Christian” Nation?


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Why Does a Loving, Powerful God Allow Suffering and Evil?

Why Does a Loving God Allow Suffering?

A Theological Look at How a Loving, Powerful God can Co-exist with Evil and Suffering in the World


By: Pastor Brian Chilton


You do not have to look very far to find evil and suffering in the world.  A few weeks ago from the writing of this article, the world was rocked as we learned of the bombings which killed 3 people in Boston, Massachusetts.  One of the victims was a little boy.  Prior to this, we were saddened this past Christmas to learn of the atrocious shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The pages of our newpapers are full with stories of violence, suffering, and evil.  How does one deal with this?

Ergun Caner has given three ways the Christian deals with the issue of suffering and evil.  But, I would add a fourth.  Caner writes, “Solution Number One: God predestined evil” (Caner, Class Notes, Lecture 14).[1]  Adherents to this solution would claim that humans do not have any control over anything and that everything is worked out by God.  Unfortunately, this makes God the author of sin and the Bible makes it clear that there is not evil or sin found in the character of God.  So, this solution has major problems.

Caner gives a second solution, “Solution Number Two: Evil does not exist” (Caner, Class Notes, Lecture 14).  Adherents of this view would claim that evil does not really exist.  Evil is an illusion and is not real.  But any serious minded person can clearly see that evil is indeed a reality.  This solution, too, holds some major problems.

Caner gives a final solution, “Solution Number Three: God created Man who chose evil” (Caner, Class Notes, Lecture 14).  This solution holds the fewest problems.  This solution, like Caner, is the solution I choose.  In other words, God did not create evil and suffering but allowed it as an option for reasons on which we will expound.

In this article, we will examine how a powerful, loving God can co-exist with evil in society and why God would allow this suffering and evil to exist…only temporarily.  We will examine the characteristics of God, the transformation of man, love and freedom, responsibility and freedom, the promise of working things together, and the final judgment.

We need to add one more note before proceeding.  When we speak of suffering and evil, two forms of suffering and evil exist: moral evil and natural evil.  Moral evil is the evil that comes from the hands of fellow human beings, whereas natural evil is the supposed evil that comes from natural disasters and birth defects.  We will deal with moral evil in this article and will address natural evil at a later date.

The Characteristics of God

Jesus children

Many characteristics of God could be mentioned in this article.  For the sake of time and space, we will only speak of two: holiness and love.  First, we must understand that God is a holy God.  In the Harper Bible Dictionary, holiness is defined as, …a term in Hebrew probably meaning separate from the ordinary or profane. Also in Hebrew and in Greek ‘holy’ implies connection with God or the divine. Thus, God is holy and people, things, and actions may be holy by association with God. Holiness may also include the ideas of consecration to God and purity from what is evil or improper.”[2]  In other words, God has not evil in Him.  Quite frankly, even though God is all-powerful, there are some things the Bible tells us that God cannot do.  For instance, the Paul writes to Titus, “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago” (Titus 1:2, NASB).[3]  So, God cannot lie.  God cannot do evil.  He is holy and without sin.

Secondly, God is love.  Perhaps, there is no greater reference to this fact than in John 3:16 and also in 1 John.  John writes in his letter, “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).  Paul writes, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).  So, God’s love for all humanity is limitless. This love transforms every person who partakes in His glory.

The Transformation of Humanity


When a person allows Christ to become the Lord of his or her life, a transformation occurs.  Yes, salvation is a work of God.  Yes, God does the transformation.  But, yes, we have to be willing to allow God to do that work in our lives.  More on that later in the article, but for now, let us simply say that if a transformation has not occurred in an individual then there is a good chance that the individual never received Christ.

Although I consider all Christians who are under the umbrella of classic Christian doctrine to be my brothers and sisters, I am most in line with “Free Will Baptist” theology.  Some have accused Baptists of proclaiming a “do-nothing salvation.”  In other words, all you have to do is say a prayer and do nothing else.  Well, honestly, if that was the way Baptist theology really presented salvation, I would not be one.  We all understand whether you are Arminian or Calvinist, Protestant or Catholic, Pentecostal or Methodist, Baptist or Lutheran, that a transformation must take place in order for one to truly be proclaimed a Christian.  You cannot live like the Devil and proclaim Jesus as your Lord and think that you have a right relationship with God.  It does not work that way.

We are told that the Christian must display the Fruits of the Spirit, or manifestations of God working in the person’s life.  Those fruits are: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).  This does not indicate that the Christian will always be patient or always be kind.  But it does indicate that the overall persona of the Christian should be filled with these attributes as they are attributes of God given to the person.  So, a relationship with Christ brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  If this is the case, then the life that lives without God would produce the antitheses of these things: hate, sorrow, war, impatience, harshness, evil, infidelity, harshness, and personal and familial chaos.  Get the picture?  So, why does God allow evil?  We begin to get a glimpse as we examine the next section.

Love and Freedom

Couple hugging

We get a clear picture of this in the all-star verse of the Bible.  Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17).  Notice the “whosoever” word?  For love to be freely received, it must first be freely given.  But for love to be freely given, it must also be freely received.  As David said to his son Solomon, “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).  Yes, God saves.  Yes, God reveals Himself to us.  Yes, salvation is God’s gift.  But, for love to work, it must be reciprocated.

A great example of this was found 12 years ago from the time of this writing.  I was walking down the beach with my, then, girlfriend.  It was a beautiful night.  The moon lit the waves of the ocean as they crashed against the shore.  A few clouds gave the sky a mystical look this night.  I was extremely nervous because I was going to ask my girlfriend a very important question.  Every time I was getting ready to ask her, something would interrupt me…a dog crossing our paths.  A young child running around.  Finally, the moment of opportunity appeared and I asked this girl a very important question.  “Would you like to spend the rest of your life with me?  Would you like to marry me?”  I gave her the ring which I had purchased for her.  She looked at me in disbelief.  She looked…and looked…and looked…and finally asked, “Are you SURE???”  Well, that was not the response I was looking for, but I answered, “Of course I am sure, or I wouldn’t have asked.”  After contemplating a few more moments…leaving me hanging for what felt like an eternity…she finally responded, “Well, I guess we are going to have a good life together.  Yes, I will marry you.”

The Friday before I write this article, that girl and I will have celebrated 10 years of marriage together.  God has blessed us with a little boy.  I can honestly say that even though our relationship is not perfect, I love her more now than I even did then.  But that would not be possible if we both did not act freely.  I freely chose to ask her to marry me and she freely chose to accept my offer.  Love is never forced.  Forced love is not love…it is rape.  Rape is the antithesis of love.  Love must be freely given and freely received.

The same holds true with our relationship with God.  God saves.  God calls.  God gives us the opportunity to enter into a relationship with God through Christ Jesus.  God does 99.9% of the work.  The only thing we must do is say “Yes.”  We must open the door to God’s invitation.  In many ways, our relationship with God is like a marriage.  God is the groom and we are the bride.

But, this offer only exists if we are given the choice to receive or reject.  In order to allow for perfect relational love, God had to create us with the opportunity that we might just say “No.”  Some will say, “No God.  I do not want You in my life.”  Just as some with some proposals, the asked person will say, “No dear, I do not love you and do not want to spend my life with you.”  The clear cut result of a life lived without God is evil.

Some would say, “Yes, but why doesn’t God stop every evil act from occurring.”  I would say that God could and does from time to time.  But, if God interjected every time an evil act was committed, this would remove the freedom that the human being possesses.  Suffering and evil exists because of the freedom that God has given people.  We cannot blame God for suffering and evil.  We must truly blame ourselves.  This of course gives humans responsibility.

Responsibility and Freedom


Human beings must take responsibility for his or her actions.  Many times we blame God for things that we bring on ourselves.  If a person stepped out on a major highway and was hit by a Mack truck, can the person really blame God for such an action?  No, it was the person’s own stupidity.  Would God be obligated to stop the Mack truck causing a massive pile up while taking many innocent lives over one person’s ignorant decision?  I don’t think so.  Really, God is not obliged to us for anything, really.  The fact that God saves any of us shows the grace and mercy of God.  It speaks more of God’s character instead of a person’s.  However, it must be noted that sin and rebellion do in fact hurt people.  The things we do affect far more people than we ever could imagine.  But, despite this, God has given a promise to work all things for good to God’s children.

Working All Things For Good


Paul writes, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  This promise is not for everyone.  Notice that Paul says that God works all things for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.  God has the uncanny way of working out good things through the most horrific of circumstances.  It may be that through the death of a young child who will automatically go to heaven that another child would receive life through an organ transplant.  It may be that the woman who allowed God to strengthen her through the death of her beloved husband displays such a Christ like demeanor that her lifestyle encourages another to come to eternal life in Christ.  God has the ability to work out all things for good if we are His children and allow the Spirit of God to work in our lives without quenching Him.  But, there is yet one more thing that must be remembered in all of this.

Prepare to Meet Your God: Judgment Time IS Coming


One day, God will bring judgment.  Many ask as the Prophet Habakkuk did, “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, and You will not hear?  I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ Yet You do not save” (Habakkuk 1:2).  Will God not bring judgment to those who do such wicked things?  Yes, God indeed will.  When God brings judgment, it is fast, furious, and final.  Don’t believe me?  Just look at Sodom and Gomorrah.  The cities were lush cities in an area much like a tropical paradise.  Look at them now.  They are surrounded by massive amounts of salt in the region now known as the Dead Sea.

God will one day bring judgment.  As Paul writes, “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).  Everyone will give an account of their lives to God.  The only salvation we have in this day is through the blood of Christ…the payment for our sins.  But, this does not mean that we will not have to give an account of the things we do.  God will one day make all things right.  So, let’s bring this all together.


Christ the Redeemer

God is loving and is all-powerful.  The reason why evil and suffering exists is due to the freedom that God gives us to choose His grace or to reject His grace.  This freedom was evident in the Garden of Eden as it is today.  When God calls us and reveals Himself to us, we have the choice to accept God’s grace or to reject God’s grace.  A life that accepts God’s grace is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  A person who rejects God’s grace is filled with hate, sorrow, war, impatience, harshness, evil, infidelity, harshness, and personal and familial chaos.  Love is not forced, so if God grants that we can know Him then He must also grant that we may reject Him.  This is why evil and suffering sometimes occurs…because of rejection of God’s grace and love.

God allows evil and suffering to exist now because God is granting more time for people to receive God’s grace, love, and forgiveness.  More souls are yet to be saved.  This is why God is delaying the time for judgment.  But understand this; the age of grace will not be extended forever.  One day, the age of grace will be replaced by the Day of Judgment.  At that time, every person will have to give an account of his or her life; and the decision that the person made, in acceptance or rejection of the grace that God freely gave, will carry eternal consequences.  Let us end this article with a warning that the Prophet Amos gives us, “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12).


[1] Note: for easy reference, Bible references and some other references will appear in the MLA format.  For major works, Turabian footnotes will be used.  This will help the reader as he/she reads the article.

[2] Paul J. Achtemeier, Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, 1st ed. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985), 400.

[3] All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, comes from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

Why the Violence in the Old Testament?

Why the Violence in the Old Testament?

By: Pastor Brian Chilton

Catch the audio broadcast that coincides with this issue by clicking here.

ot scroll

The recent epic miniseries The Bible accomplished exactly what Roma Downey, the producer of the mini-series, set for the series to do; get people talking about the Bible.  Many people had various problems with the mini-series.  For instance, the angels at Sodom and Gomorrah probably were not dressed like ninjas.  The sayings of Jesus in the wilderness wanderings stretched what the actual Jesus said.  Nonetheless, the series remained true to the Bible overall.

One of the great surprises to many of our congregants in the mini-series was the violence of the Old Testament times (otherwise called the Hebrew Bible).  One faithful church member said, “I have been going to Sunday school many years.  I never knew that there was so much violence in the Bible!”  So, this brings us to a difficult question.  Why is there so much violence in the Bible?  This question is a difficult one because it is loaded with a variety of other questions.

To answer why there is so much violence in the Old Testament, it must be asked what is really being asked.  Four questions arise from this one.  These four questions will be the basis for our article today and we will bring it all together in our conclusion.  The four questions are: why did God give the Israelites land (question of conquest); why did God allow for violence to be used against opposing nations; was God only behind one nation; and was God angry and ornery in the Old Testament?  First, why did God allow the Israelites to overtake other lands?

Why Did God give the Israelites Land?


“When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you,

         2          and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.

         3          “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.

         4          “For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.

         5          “But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.

         6          “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

         7          “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,

         8          but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”[1]


The text above will be the primary text for this article.  Beginning with verse 6, it would appear that God loves only the Israelite nation and no one else.  But is this true?  Is God a racist?  Well, actually no.  God had a covenant with Israel, but had a love for all nations.  We will examine this in further detail in our third question.  So, why did God give the Israelites land?  God gave the Israelites land in ancient times for several reasons.

First, God gave Israelites the land because they had no land in which to dwell.  They were in the wilderness but the wilderness was not a hospitable place.  They could not grow and develop as a people in the desert.  They needed a place in which they could flourish.  The other people who had inhabited the lands that were given to the Israelites in ancient times were given other lands that were habitable, too.  For all intent and purposes, the people of Israel had been rescued from Egypt but were homeless.  So, why wouldn’t God give the people with which He had formed a covenant land?  Otherwise, it would be like an employer hiring a worker and giving the worker no work place, no materials and resources, and no money.  What kind of employer would that be?

Second, Israel would be the nation that would bring forth God’s word.  God spoke through prophets, priests, kings, and later apostles to bring forth His word to the world.  It was important that the people were established.  Before someone will listen to spiritual things, they must first be satisfied physically.

Lastly, the Messiah of the world would come through this nation: Jesus Christ.  Jesus would be the redeemer of all people.  He would solve the sin problem.  This shows God’s love for all people.  So, remember, there is no partiality with God.  God loves the Arab as much as He loves the Jew…and vice versa.  God loves the Chinese person as much as He loves the American…and vice versa.  God loves dark-skinned people as much as He loves light-skinned people…and vice versa.  As the children’s hymn says, “Red, yellow, black, and white…they are precious in His sight…Jesus loves the little children of the world” (from “Jesus Loves the Little Children”).  If this is so, then why did God allow violence to be used?

Why did God Allow for Violence against Other Nations?

zippety do dah pic

If God loves all people, why did God allow and even order for violence to be used against neighboring tribes and nations?  Well think about it.  Do you really think that the brutal Canaanites would have listened to Joshua and his armies if they walked up to them and said, “We don’t want to fight you, but God told us that this land is ours.  So if you don’t mind, get out and let us live here…please.”  The Canaanites would have cut Joshua into five pieces quicker than you could whistle “Zippety-Do-Dah.”  Violence had to be used because, due to sin, that would be the only measure that would work.  Sometimes God allows things to happen in ways that He really does not desire to bring a good end.  A great example of this principle is found in the cross.  God sometimes used violence by other nations to bring judgment.

Habakkuk is a great little book to read concerning God’s judgment of nations.  Habakkuk asks God, “Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?”[2]  It appeared to Habakkuk that God was allowing evil to take place without doing anything about it.  God answered Habakkuk, “You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor.  Now you yourself drink and expose your own nakedness.  The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will come upon your glory.”[3] In other words, God told Habakkuk, “I am bringing judgment by a foreign nation.”  There is much more to Habakkuk’s conversation with God.  For this article, we simply need to show that God sometimes brings judgment by allowing other nations to invade a particular nation which has fallen into evil.  For His people, it may simply be lifting up His hand of protection.  Is this wrong?

Some claim that this is wrong on God’s part, but let me ask it this way: was it wrong for the Allies to conquer Hitler and the Nazis?  Hitler had killed 11 million people, 6 million of which were Jews.  Of course the Allies were justified conquering Hitler for the atrocities which he had committed.  Many of the tribes that were conquered, such as the Canaanites, were evil people who were engaged in child sacrifice, bestiality, licentiousness, and all manners of evil.  Why would a good God allow such a civilization to go on with no repercussion?  The fact that God allowed them to live where they did for as long as He did shows the grace and mercy of God.  As far as idolatry, not only were the other nations wrong in their worship, they had committed themselves to regular human sacrifices which were gruesome and horrific.  You may say, “Well you Christians claim that Jesus gave Himself on the cross.”  Yes, but Jesus went willingly and was God incarnate.  Many of the individuals who were sacrificed in these tribes were innocent children who were forced into being sacrifices.  Some claim that God seemed to love only Israel.  Is this true?

Did God Only Love Israel?

israel flag

God loves all people, but, as the text posted at the first of the article from Deuteronomy shows, God was engaged in a covenant relationship with Israel.  Don’t confuse covenant (an agreement that God has with a person or people) with love.  God’s love for all nations can be seen in God’s willingness to bargain with Abraham for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.  If God found 10 righteous people, He promised Abraham that He would not destroy the place.  God had compassion on the people, but the people had become so corrupt that He had to rid the world of the evil therein.  Think of Jonah and the Ninevites.  Nineveh was not a Jewish nation.  Yet, God sent His prophet Jonah to speak a message of repentance to Nineveh so that they would be spared from judgment.  Nineveh listened and repented of their sins.  Yet, another great piece of evidence in Scripture shows that God is not a respecter of persons or nations.

Before Joshua would lead the troops to Jericho, he asked God, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?”  The Lord responded, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.”[4]  This was unheard of in ancient times.  Even today, one group will claim, “God is only for us and no one else.”  Another group will claim, “No God is on our side not your!”  God is on no one’s side.  God is God.  He is under no man’s control.  God loved the Gentiles every bit as much as He loved the Israelites.    Remember that Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”[5]  The difference was not love, but covenant.  This plays into the issue of heaven and hell.  God loves every person in hell.  But, a covenant had to be worked out with people to allow them access to heaven.  If a person does not want exist with God, then they choose to live eternally without God…hence “hell.”  A lot of people confuse love and covenant.  Some also confuse justice with anger.  Was God an angry God in the Old Testament?

Was God Angry and Ornery in the Old Testament?

More than once it has been said, “God is ornery and mean in the Old Testament, but is loving and kind in the New Testament.”  Some, like the Gnostics, have postulated that two gods must exist…the vengeful Old Testament God and the loving New Testament God.  However, a closer examination of the Old Testament will reveal that God is the same God in the Old Testament that He is in the New Testament.

First, look at God’s love and compassion in Hosea.  God compares Himself to Hosea who loved his wife Gomer despite her infidelities.  God’s love for Israel remained even though Israel had strayed so far from Him.  As Hosea writes for God, “It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord, that you will call Me Ishi (husband) and will no longer call Me Baali (master).”[6] 

Second, look at the chances that God gave people to get things right.  Judgment was a last measure.  God gave the people every chance possible to get things right.  God did not desire to bring judgment but it was necessary for God to bring judgment due to the rebellion and evil in which the people were engaged.  Jeremiah writes for God, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the Lord’s house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word!  ‘Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’”[7]  Can you not see the heart of God breaking for the people?  His loving nature wishes to save and love every one of them.  But, his holiness cannot allow the evil of the land to go on.  Would the people listen, repent, and change the path that must come?  God knew the answer, but it did not make the situation any easier.


Is God a moral monster as some New Atheists suggest?  Does the use of violence indicate that God is a violent, malicious Being who wishes to harm all of humanity?  A careful reading of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) actually shows that God is a loving God.  YHWH in the Old Testament is the same Heavenly Father that is mentioned in the New Testament.  God is loving, but God is also holy.  God will not allow evil to remain on earth.  It was necessary for God to give Israel land in order that His word could be produced, His message could be delivered, and ultimately His Messiah could redeem the world.  God allowed and sometimes even ordered violent means to bring judgment against evil nations.  It was just as good for God to do this as it was for the Allies to stop the evil conducted by Hitler and the Nazis.  Most importantly, God loves all people in all times.  It is not His will that any should suffer.  In the end, God will make all things right.  When God judges, God will be just and give a good judgment.  The only thing, however, that will give someone access to God’s heaven is to enter into a covenant relationship with God through His Messiah Jesus Christ.  Human sin brought violence into the human spectrum.  However, God’s actions through Jesus Christ brought peace, love, and joy into the human spectrum.  Violence may be a reality now.  But, violence will be put to bed by the Prince of Peace one glorious day.

[1] All Scripture unless otherwise noted comes from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Deuteronomy 7:1–8.

[2] Habakkuk 1:13.

[3] Habakkuk 2:16.

[4] Joshua 5:14.

[5] John 3:16–17.

[6] Hosea 2:16 (parentheses mine).

[7] Jeremiah 26:2–3.

Worldview Analysis of Secular Humanism

The following is a recent paper that I wrote on Secular Humanism for a class at Liberty.  Hope you enjoy it.

Worldview Analysis of Secular Humanism

By: Pastor Brian Chilton

The Christian theist is opposed by many worldviews.  While various religions and worldviews have been around since the early stages of human history, one such worldview has grown in prominence in recent times: secular humanism.  This paper will give a summary of secular humanism’s core beliefs, will give a critique of secular humanism, and will pose a method of sharing the gospel with a secular humanist.  Is secular humanism reasonable?  To answer the question, a summary of secular humanism must first be given.

Summary of Secular Humanism

Secular humanism is a worldview held by atheists and/or agnostics that promotes the human above all things., a site devoted to secular humanism, defines secular humanism as the following:

Secular humanism is comprehensive, touching every aspect of life including issues of values, meaning, and identity…Secular humanism is nonreligious, espousing no belief in a realm or beings imagined to transcend ordinary experience…Secular humanism is philosophically naturalistic. It holds that nature (the world of everyday physical experience) is all there is…Secular humanism provides a cosmic outlook—a world-view in the broadest sense, grounding our lives in the context of our universe and relying on methods demonstrated by science…Secular humanists hold that ethics is consequential, to be judged by results.[1]

The secular humanist evaluates everything from the perspective of what is seen or what can be known by the senses.  Therefore, a belief for the secular humanist is brought forth not only by what can be experienced through the senses but also by that which is tested using scientific methodology.  Sam Harris, an atheist, defines “belief” in the following way, “The brain’s capacity to accept such propositions as true—as valid guides to behavior and emotion, as predictive of future outcomes, etc.—explains the transformative power of words.  There is a common term we use for this type of acceptance; we call it ‘belief.’[2]  So the secular humanist would have no room for God or for anything “supernatural” due to the heavy dependency upon the human sensory experience.  For this reason, the secular humanist defends evolution with the fire of a Christian evangelist.  As Geisler wrote, “Evolution is the secular humanist’s way to explain origins.  Either the universe and living things originated by means of the intervention of a supernatural Creator, or they evolved by purely naturalistic means.  Nontheists thus have no choice but to defend evolution.[3]  No worldview is free from critique.  Secular humanism contains several problems.  The next section will address two of the problems found in secular humanism.

Critiques of Secular Humanism

Secular humanism holds many glaring holes at the core of its philosophy.  Many pages could be written, but for the sake of space, this section will focus on two implosions or fatal flaws found at the core of secular humanist thinking: the implosion of causal relationships and the implosion of the humanist’s own morality.

Secular humanism implodes by causal relationships.  The scientific method is based on cause/effect relationships.  This is the crux of scientific research.  However, modern secular humanists, especially humanists’ associated with the New Atheism, seem to bypass the necessity of causal relationships when it comes to the origin of the universe.  Something must be eternal.  Either the universe is eternal or a transcendent God is eternal.

The secular humanist seems comfortable in espousing that the universe came from nothing.  Famed atheist Richard Dawkins wrote in the afterword of A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing, “Finally, and inevitably, the flat universe will further flatten into a nothingness that mirrors its beginning.[4]  This is problematic at its core.  How is it that the universe (something) can become nothing?  Furthermore, how is it that nothing can produce something?  Is the “nothing” that is presented actually be “something”?  If the “nothing” is “something,” then the “nothing” is not really “nothing” but “something.”  A thing cannot both exist and be non-existent at the same time.  A thing either is or is not but it cannot be both.  Therefore, an uncaused cause must exist.  The secular humanist would claim that the universe has always existed and has gone through an infinite regress of past events.

Logic shows that an infinite regress of past events is impossible in the natural sphere.  If this is impossible, then God’s existence is far more reasonable than it would be to espouse that the universe was a “nothing” turned “something.”  As Craig and Sinclair write, “When we use the word ‘exist,’ we mean ‘be instantiated in the mind-independent world’…Since an actual infinite cannot exist and an infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite, we may conclude that an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.  Therefore, since the temporal regress of events is finite, the universe began to exist.”[5]  Since there cannot be an infinite regress of past events and the beginning of the universe cannot be attributed to “nothingness,” the only logical cause of the universe and everything within it is an uncaused agent we know as God.  If humans can believe things from logic, which many humanists would agree, then belief in God is warranted, if not demanded, due to the necessity of an uncaused cause for all natural things.  But, secular humanism implodes on another front: its own morality.

Secular humanism promotes morality, but the humanist’s morality implodes as the humanist does not really possess a standard for morality.  The Humanist Manifesto II states, “Ethics stems from human need and interest.  To deny this distorts the whole basis of life.”[6]  If the humanist is correct, then humanity should become more moral over time and the humanist should be the most moral person of all.  However, this is not the case.  John Lennox eloquently writes, “…I would like to ask you also to imagine a world with no atheism.  No Stalin, no Mao, no Pol Pot, just to name the heads of the three officially atheistic states that were responsible for some of the worst mass crimes of the twentieth century.[7]  In addition, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot operated from what they considered to be their own needs and interests.  Therefore, the secular humanist has no standard for morality whatsoever because all morality becomes relative.  So, how would you share the gospel with a secular humanist?

Proposed Plan for Sharing the Gospel with the Secular Humanist

The secular humanist holds a high view of humanity and a low view of the supernatural.  The Christian theist, or evangelist, should approach the secular humanist differently than that of other worldviews.  In some respects, sharing the gospel with the secular humanist requires steps that adherents of other worldviews would not require.  Four steps should be used to reach the secular humanist beginning with objective truth.

The evangelist must first present to the secular humanist that objective truths exist.  Many secular humanists have fallen into relativistic thinking.  An easy way to present the flaws in relativist thinking is to show that relative statements are given objectively.  Therefore, even the relativist benefits from objectivity when promoting relative claims.  Once the evangelist lays out the logic and standards of objective truth; the Christian evangelist moves on to show the necessity of God’s existence.

The Christian evangelist would do well to know and present the cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments for God’s existence.  The secular humanist should be shown that God’s existence is not only reasonable but also necessary to explain the existence of anything.  This step could take a considerable amount of time depending on the secular humanists’ level of opposition.  From here, the evangelist would move to God’s revelation given in the Bible.

The evangelist needs to show that God has given a personal revelation concerning Himself in the Bible.  The evangelist would do well to present archaeological evidences for the Bible and must be able to show the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Some secular humanists make assumptions against the Bible without research.  Lastly, the evangelist would present the person of Jesus Christ to the secular humanist.

The gospel message will be shared completely with the secular humanist as the evangelist presents the person of Jesus Christ.  At this stage, the legitimacy for the Bible and truth will be established.  Here, the evangelist shows the need for salvation and the message of salvation.  Since the secular humanist holds ethics in high regard, the evangelist should present the high ethical message given by Christ Jesus.


Secular humanism is not a reasonable worldview.  Secular humanism holds that morality is based upon the person and no other.  Yet, that relativist thinking leads to a vast array of logical inconsistencies which eventually ends with no establishment of moral reckoning.  Secular humanism holds to science as a means to know everything.  Yet, science cannot prove the need for science.  Also, the secular humanist must deny the very principle upon which the foundation of science is built, causal relationships, by denying the necessity of a first cause to all natural things.  The Christian theist would do well to present the need for objective truth, the necessity of God’s existence, the revelation of God given in the Bible, and the person of Jesus Christ to the secular humanist.  While the secular humanist has built a foundation upon logical inconsistencies, the evangelist must remember that the secular humanist is foremost a soul in need of salvation.


American Humanist Association. 1973. “Ethics,” Humanist Manifesto II. (accessed April 25, 2013).

 Council for Secular Humanism, “What Is Secular Humanism?” (accessed April 24, 2013).

Craig, William Lane, and James D. Sinclair, “The Kalaam Cosmological Argument,” The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology ed. William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland (West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 117.

Dawkins, Richard, Afterword to A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss (New York, NY: Free Press, 2012), 188.

Geisler, Norman, “Humanism, Secular,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1999), 342.

Harris, Sam, “Belief,” The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (New York, NY: Free Press, 2010), 115.

Lennox, John, “Is Atheism Poisonous,” Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists are Missing the Mark (Oxford, UK: Lion Publishers, 2011), 83.


[1] Council for Secular Humanism, “What Is Secular Humanism?,” (accessed April 24, 2013).

[2] Sam Harris, “Belief,” The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (New York, NY: Free Press, 2010), 115.

 [3] Norman Geisler, “Humanism, Secular,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1999), 342.

[4] Richard Dawkins, afterword to A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss (New York, NY: Free Press, 2012), 188.

[5] William Lane Craig and James D. Sinclair, “The Kalaam Cosmological Argument,” The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology ed. William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland (West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 117.

[6] American Humanist Association. 1973. “Ethics,” Humanist Manifesto II. (accessed April 25, 2013).

[7] John Lennox, “Is Atheism Poisonous,” Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists are Missing the Mark (Oxford, UK: Lion Publishers, 2011), 83.

Are Deathbed Conversions Fair?

Are Death Bed Conversions Fair?

Pastor Brian Chilton


A church member approached me recently and asked a difficult question.  He told me of the story of a family member who had accepted Christ as Savior moments before he died.  While the church member was happy that his relative had made it to heaven, he still wondered how it was fair that he would work for the Lord his whole life, and his family member only lived for Christ moments before death, and they both went to the same heaven.  Are death bed conversions fair?

I researched this topic and oddly enough did not find anyone who has dealt with this issue.  So, to my knowledge, this is the first treatment of this particular topic.  Before we find an answer to this topic, we must cover a variety of issues that together will bring us to a reasonable answer.  We must examine the depth of sin, the importance of faith, the importance of repentance, the compassion of God, the call of God, Christian judgment, and the rewards of heaven.  First, the depth of sin must be examined.

The Depth of Sin


As we look at the fairness question of deathbed conversions, we must first look at the depth of sin itself.  In our culture, many possess a high sense of entitlement.  Those who possess this mentality feel that they deserve a living, deserve benefits, and deserve salvation.  Let the reader know that I am not insinuating that those who posed this question to me are in any way, shape, or form these kinds of people.  But, many in our culture do have a high sense of entitlement.  I am reminded of the word of my dad when I was young.  He used to say, “No one owes you anything.  You must work to earn a living.”  Even though there may be those who come to faith even having done some horrible things, we must ask this question, is it fair that any of us are saved?  Do any of us deserve salvation?  Have we been good enough to be saved from hell?  The answer is shocking because the answer is “no.”  None of us deserve salvation.  None of us can earn salvation.  None of us can be good enough.  This is a Scriptural fact.

Isaiah puts this in perspective as he wrote, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”[1]  So even at our best, we are not worthy of salvation.  Our very best is as a “filthy garment” to the holiness of God.  So if salvation is not by grace, it cannot be given at all, because we would have to be holy as God in order to earn salvation.  None of us are good enough to do so.  I know that is not encouraging, but it is truthful.  As the 80s band “The Human League” sang, “I’m only human…born to make mistakes.”[2]  So is anyone righteous at all?

The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans the following,

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”  “Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; “Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known.”  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” [3]

As disturbing as it may be to confess, we all meet the qualities that Paul gave.  Even the very best of us are unworthy before God.  Think about the most holy, righteous person you know…if that person is me, then you need to meet more people.  That holy, righteous person is nothing compared to the goodness of God.  So how can anyone be saved?

The only way we can know God is by the Spirit of God working in our lives.  Just like I cannot know what you are thinking unless you tell me, we cannot know the mind of God or the qualities of God unless God reveals them to us.  We then have the opportunity to respond positively or negatively to the grace that He bestows to us.  So how then are we saved?  We must have faith.

The Importance of Faith

The writer of Hebrews writes, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”[4]  What is faith?  The Greek term for “faith” is “pisteuo.”  The term represents a “trust” and “dependency” upon something or someone.  So, the biblical term for “faith” is trust.  Without this trust, it is impossible to please God.  Why?  I think the answer is because when we trust God, we realize that He has the power to help us where we do not.  Some would call this arrogance on God’s part, but that is not the case.

I understand this need for dependency upon God more as a parent.  My son is an independent soul.  He wants to do things himself and wants very little help.  But, there are some things that he cannot do for himself.  I am more than willing to help him and give him instruction if he is willing to listen and ask for help.  No matter how hard he tries or how much he climbs, he still cannot reach the top of the refrigerator.  If he wants something from on top of the refrigerator, I have to reach down to him.

I think the same is with God.  He has reached down to us to give us something that we cannot earn and do not deserve in salvation.  God is our Master and our Creator.  Without God, we would not be here.  We need His direction and His instruction.  So, I think that is part of the reason why faith is the only way we can please God.  Plus, dependency upon His work on the cross is the only thing that can save us from the penalty of our sins.  Is it fair for a person on his or her death bed to ask forgiveness?  It is no fairer than it is for any of us to ask for forgiveness.  But it is not about justice, because if God was about serving only justice we would all be in hell.  It is about love and grace.  But, isn’t there a need for repentance?  Yes, we will examine this aspect in the next section.

The Importance of Repentance


Jesus is quoted in Luke’s gospel as saying, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”[5]  What does it mean to repent?  The Greek term for “repentance” is “metanoeo.”  Metanoeo means “to change one’s life, based on complete change of attitude and thought concerning sin and righteousness.”[6]  So if a person is truly repentant, he or she will admit their wrong and change from his or her lifestyle of sin.  This does not mean that he or she will never do anything wrong, but that the person has a complete transformation of mind, soul, and body.  As Paul writes, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”[7]

Therefore, if a conversion is authentic before death occurs, a transformation will take place.  The guilty person will seek to reconcile the best he or she can with that time the person has left.  Forgiveness requires repentance and repentance requires reconciliation to the best of one’s ability.  Jesus said, “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”[8]  So, the person should be a changed person and not simply looking for a quick fix.  None of us know that when we come to know the Lord that we will not be taken shortly afterwards.  Faith comes first, then repentance, and finally repentance brings the responsibility of reconciliation to the best of one’s ability.

When I taught a discipleship course, the Holy Spirit worked in my life and brought up reconciliation that needed to happen between one of the members of the church and myself.  The Holy Spirit would not let me rest until I at least attempted to make reconciliation.  So, I spoke to the member and we worked things out.  As a matter of fact, I believe my relationship with that member of the church is stronger now than it was before.  One other element must be remembered as we discuss death bed conversions: the compassion of God Himself.

The Compassion of God

compassion of God

Simon Peter writes in his second letter, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”[9]  The issue that Peter presents is clear-cut.  God does not desire that anyone goes to hell but that all come to repentance and faith which would lead to heaven.  So, heaven rejoices when a person, even an evil person, comes to faith because a life has been saved from eternal death.  When we think of hell, we sometimes forget the horrible eternal state that one would endure.  But, what about a person who has been very bad?  Doesn’t such a person deserve hell?  Yes, but again, all of us do.

We must remember that Jesus endured the most horrible death that anyone could suffer while bearing upon His back the sins of the world.  Luke records the following, “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.”[10]  Jesus was able to forgive the very persons who were torturing Him while they were torturing Him.  How is that possible?

I must confess that I do not have the power to forgive like that myself, but only through the power of God.  I have had some bad things done to me in my past, but nothing like that which Christ suffered.  Yet, I have found the power to forgive through the presence of God.  It would be very difficult for me to forgive someone who harmed my family.  Honestly, I know that I do not have the power to do so alone.  But, forgiveness does not claim that something that was wrongfully committed was okay, or that something bad was right.  Forgiveness simply hands the case over to God.  Forgiveness puts the situation in God’s hands knowing that He will bring about reconciliation and/or justice in the end.  As the writer of Hebrews states, “For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”[11]

How can there be justice for someone in the body of Christ?  Doesn’t this give a clear slate to everyone in the church?  Does this give Christians the clearance to do wrong?  Heaven forbid.  There is still a judgment for Christians as we will see later.  But before we do, let us examine the Christian’s responsibility.  You may ask, “How does this affect deathbed conversion?”  Hang tight; we will bring it all together in the conclusion.  Let us examine the responsibilities of the Christian, or rather the “Call of God.”

The Call of God


Before we examine our final segment and move towards the conclusion, let us examine the call of God for the Christian.  As we read earlier, it is not God’s will that anyone should perish but that all come to repentance.  It may be asked why some are allowed in the kingdom towards the end of a person’s life.  God does not desire for anyone to perish even if the decision is made only moments before one dies.  To exemplify this point, Jesus gave a parable about a landowner.  To understand this parable correctly, one must understand that the workers were desperate and needed money to feed their family.  It is set in a time that was similar to the times of the Great Depression where displaced workers depended on day to day work to provide for their families.  Keep this in mind in addition to the need for salvation as you read Jesus’ parable.  Jesus said,

       For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.  “When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.  “And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went.  “Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing.  “And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’  “They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’  “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’  “When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius.  “When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.  “When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’  “But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?          ‘Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.  ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’  “So the last shall be first, and the first last.[12]


From this parable, we find two great principles.  First, we find that salvation is a gift that God gives.  Like the landowner who gave money to those in need, God gives salvation to all those who receive the grace freely given.  Second, the gift offer is available until this life is over.  The only time when grace is no longer available is when the last breath of a person is taken from an unrepentant sinner.  God shows no partiality.  He loves us all the same.  But, does this mean that there is no justice to the deeds done on earth?  Does this mean that the Christian can get away with anything?  No.  The Christian will face judgment, but will be justified.  The deeds done as a Christian do matter as we will see in our final section.

The Christian Judgment: Grace Is Not a “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

get out of jail free card

In Hasbro’s famous board game Monopoly, a card exists that gets the board game player out of jail in the event that the player lands on the “Go to Jail” slot.  The card is called the “Get Out of Jail Free” card.  Christians have been charged for viewing salvation in this regard.  In other words, some believe that Christians can do anything they want without a penalty for their actions.  In fact, some Christians do view salvation in this regard.  Who is to blame for this viewpoint?  Well, to be honest, we preachers are guilty to some degree.  Preachers want to stress the forgiveness found in salvation.  While it is true that our sins are forgiven judicially, this does not give us permission to do anything we desire without repercussion.  In fact, numerous Scriptural references show that even though the Christian is forgiven, he or she will still have to stand before judgment.

One example can be seen in Jesus’ teachings.  Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.”[13]  Jesus shows that everyone will be judged for his or her deeds.  But, this does not mean that the Christian is no less forgiven.  Judicially the Christian has been forgiven.  But relationally, the Christian will still have to give an account for the deeds done while in the body of Christ.  We also see this in the book of Acts.

Peter, who had walked and learned from Jesus for three and a half years, told Cornelius the following at Caesarea, “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.  “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”[14]  Notice that Peter refers to God as the Judge of all.  Everyone who trusts in Him receives forgiveness, but that does not indicate that the person will not stand before God the Judge.  Paul gives us a lot of information concerning the judgment of all men, and especially that of the Christian judgment.

Paul gives information concerning judgment in his epic theological book to the Romans.  Paul writes,

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. [15]

 Paul continues as he writes about the judgment that we all must face.  Paul writes,

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.  For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.[16]

 Is this judgment the same as what the unbeliever faces?  No.  Paul explains what is judged in the Christian’s life.  Paul explains this as he writes to the Corinthians,

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.  For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.  If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. [17]

 Paul shows that this judgment is called the Judgment Seat of Christ.  He continues this thought in his second letter to the Corinthians as he writes,

          Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.  Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.[18]

 Paul shows the importance of working for the Lord as these works will be offered as rewards and the bad things will be exposed, confronted, and removed.  Paul shows that this work is important for everyone regardless of their position.  He writes the following to the church of Ephesus,

With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.  And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. [19]

The writer of Hebrews even shows God as the Judge of all when he writes,

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. [20]

 The obvious objection that many will pose has to do with references that our sins will be removed and remembered no more.  The question to ask is when the writers are referring to this removal and lack of remembrance.  Paul indicates that salvation is a process.  Paul writes, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”[21]  So in other words, we are saved at the moment of repentance, we are being saved as we are being forgiven, and will be saved when we are finally justified at the Day of Judgment.  God’s promises are sure.  So, even though we will face the Judgment Seat of Christ, we have the promise that we will be forgiven by the blood of the Lamb.  On the final day of salvation…when we are justified or declared “innocent”…our sins will be remembered no more.  So, in actuality, the promises of God are sure so it is a sure thing that our sins have been removed.  But, this does not give any Christian the license to sin.  Actually, salvation brings the responsibility to keep the commands of Christ.  Jesus tells us, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”[22]  Salvation brings us security so that we can pay attention to serving Christ and working for the Kingdom.  This is something that one who comes to Christ before death will not have the opportunity to do.  The issue of deathbed conversions comes full-circle when we understand the importance of the Judgment Seat of Christ: issuing rewards.

The Rewards of Heaven

Rewards in heaven

Jesus said, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”[23]  Many Christians take the position of the gospel-bluegrass song titled Lord Build Me a Cabin in the Corner of Gloryland.  In other words, the position is, “As long as I make it to heaven; that is all I am worried about.”  But really, that position is extremely arrogant.  Where is the appreciation?  Where is the Christian responsibility?  Jesus expects us to work for Him.  He gave His all to save us.  The least we can do is to work for Him.  Does Jesus show the previously mentioned lazy Christian mentality as acceptable?

Jesus did not present a lazy type of Christianity in an acceptable light.  The following is a parable that He gave that shows the importance in working for the Lord:

“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.  “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.  “Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.  “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.  “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.  “Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.  “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’    “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’  “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’  “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’  “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.  ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’  “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.  ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.  ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’  “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.  “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.[24]

Some do not like the idea of rewards in heaven or the exposure of bad deeds.  But, those who oppose this idea either are not actively working for God as they need to, or they have something in their lives that they know they shouldn’t.  It cannot be said what the rewards are or what they represent.  But, the fact that rewards are given and the stress that Jesus places on Christian service shows that they are important for the Christian.  The fact that they are important to Jesus should make it important for the disciple of Christ.  Could the rewards represent a status in heaven?  Could the rewards represent special privileges, positions, or jobs in heaven?  Only God knows for sure.  But these rewards are more important than we give them credit especially in lieu of the emphasis of Jesus’ Parable of the Talents.  Let’s bring this all together.



So, is it fair for people to be saved moments before death?  It is just as fair as it is for anyone else who is saved.  Everyone is under the curse of sin.  No one is worthy of salvation.  Even the best among us is as a filthy rag compared to the holiness of God.  Salvation is a gift given by God.  God can save anyone at any stage in life who truly comes to God in trust and repentantance.  But, there is a price that comes with a person who comes to salvation late in his or her life.

The Bible gives several references to the fact that every person will stand before God in judgment.  The Christian will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.  The problem with one who comes to Christ late in life is that the person will not have any opportunities to offer any work for Christ to be rewarded.  Remember, the works that are rewarded are done in the body of Christ.   Bottom line is that the works done for Christ during a lifetime will be rewarded.  So, the one who comes to faith moments before death will enter heaven but will have little to show for his or her life in Christ.

When people graduate from college, both those on the honor roll and those who barely scraped by will graduate.  But, those who graduate with honors have special recognition.  The same is true with the one who has worked a lifetime for Christ compared to one who was saved moments before entering heaven.  The one who worked a lifetime for Christ could be equated to the student graduating with honors whereas the person who was saved on their deathbeds are comparable to those who graduated by the skin of their teeth.  Some have honors and some do not, but they all graduate.


[1] All Scripture unless otherwise noted comes from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Isaiah 64:6.

[2] The Human League, “Human,” Crash (Virgin Records, February 1986.)  All rights reserved.

[3] Romans 3:9–18.

 [4] Hebrews 11:6.

[5] Luke 13:3–5.

[6] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

 [7] Romans 12:2.

[8] Matthew 5:23–24.

[9] 2 Peter 3:9.

[10] Luke 23:34.

[11] Hebrews 10:30–31.

[12] Matthew 20:1–16.

[13] Matthew 16:27.

 [14] Acts 10:42–43.

 [15] Romans 2:14–16.

 [16] Romans 14:10–13.

 [17] 1 Corinthians 3:10–15.

 [18] 2 Corinthians 5:6–10.

 [19] Ephesians 6:7–9.

 [20] Hebrews 12:22–24.

 [21] Romans 5:8–9.

[22] John 14:15.

[23] Matthew 5:12.

[24] Matthew 25:14–30.

Powerful Subjects Ahead from You the Reader!


We are now reaching close to 1,100 readers in 35 nations!  It is amazing to be part of what God is doing.  However, there are many serious questions that have been presented to us.  We believe that, although not every detail will be known, we can find answers in God’s Word, in logic, and in reason.  So, in the next few weeks, we will handle some of the questions from you the reader!

Next week we will look at the topic of “Death Bed Conversions.”  Is it fair for a person to live their life apart from God and then come to God before death?  This has been a difficult question to answer, but God is leading us to answers that will surprise many who read the article.

Then, we will cover a question that has been presented by many who watched the epic miniseries The Bible.  Some individuals asked me, “Why was there so much violence in the Old Testament?”  Some even asked, “Why did the people of faith partake in wars?”

Next, we will deal with a HUGE topic.  In the wake of the Boston bombings, many ask the popular question, “Why does a good God allow suffering in the world?”  This will be a two part series.  We will bring our good friend and philosopher Drew Payne in on this topic.  I will first cover the topic from a theological perspective (dealing with God, His goodness, and reasons for allowing suffering) and Drew will evaluate the topic from a philosophical perspective (dealing primarily with God’s reasons for allowing suffering and the issue of suffering itself).

Finally, we will examine a question from a fellow church member who posed, “How do you tell a polytheist that we only need one God instead of several?”  We will examine the necessity of one God and not many as we seek to answer our viewers questions in the close of April and throughout the month of May.

If you have questions that you would like answered from a theological and philosophical perspective, leave a comment to this post.  We will receive your questions and seek to answer them to the best of our ability.  You will only find answers if you ask the right questions.  As Jesus tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NASB).


God bless and remember that the “Truth” will set you free,


Pastor Brian Chilton