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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Is God Cruel In Punishment?

 Question Text : “Is God cruel? I was   shocked when Iread deuteronomy 28:15-68 full of curses”.

Answer Text :  Your  question of God being cruel is a against the Bible revelation which presents God as love (1Jn.4:8).   Sinners get punished because they work against the operating principles of God and God is helpless.  Now read on.

If  God is love how are we to understand God punishing people for their sins?  You must remember that God operates this universe using fixed laws which can NEVER be changed as long as this earth lasts (Psa.148:6).  There are physical laws like the law of gravity. Can you imagine jumping from a high flat with out getting hurt?  No one can break the law of gravity and can imagine that he would escape with out getting hurt.  Scientists have discovered several of the physical laws and we use them for our benefit. 

Now, God uses spiritual laws as well.  And God has given in writing all the spiritual laws by which we need to abide by (Psa.147:19). One of the unchanging laws of God is “what a man sows, so he reaps”.  And God has given us the freedom to choose life or death. Any one who breaks any of God’s written laws is bound to get hurt.  God can not be blamed for the hurt as He has clearly told us what is what in His Word.  He has given us the freedom to choose life or death. 

Read what the Bible says about it.  “Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant. If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life” (Gal 6:7-8 GNB).  That is why Ezekiel would ask, “why should Israel die” (Eze.18:31). 

In Dt.28 God is telling us clearly what will the result of obeying His laws or disobeying them.  We can choose what we want in life.  God is helpless if we choose to disobey Him.  We will surely get hurt now and later our sin and our disobedience will tak e us to a place from where God has withdrawn His presence and the Bible calls in hell.  This happens because God does NOT want to force any one to choose Him or to choose goodness only.  If that was the case, we would have been like robots.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2009 in Bible Questions

 

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Brahmin Wanting To Be Christian.

Question Text “|: I am born a Hindu (Brahmin). My family is a staunch Hindu one.   Unfortunately, Hinduism has rampant caste system, in which our families believe. There are several (I mean hundreds) blind practices our families follow, and we are not allowed to question them! They expect us to follow these traditions and practices (including severe forms of untouchability, casteism, hypocrisy, so on) very obediently.  I am very frustrated by such a religion. Just because we were born into it doesn`t mean we need to be in such a dark religion life long! This is where we need your help sir. All of a sudden, I felt being called by Jesus. I started reading more and more about Him, till I realized He has to be my Lord. His forgiveness, His love, His life – all these attracted me to Him. After several months of reflectioion,  I am convinced that I  should follow Jesus. The problem is I have none to guide me. It looks like I am alone in this journey. In particular, I am drawn to Protestantism. Can you please guide me  in whatever way you think will help me? What all should I do in this transformation? 

I have some specific questions too: 1. I will be staying with my parents (who are staunch Hindus) for 1 year. So in this 1 year, I cannot take any `visible` steps towards Christianity. I really want to be a Christian, and be proud about it. And I don`t want to hurt my family. If I tell them about my becoming a Christian, they will disown me and get deeply hurt. I am so confused about how to manage this situation. And right now, is there anything I can do without getting baptized? I am not a scripture oriented person. I just want to lead my life as Jesus taught. Can you please suggest me a simple lifestyle till I get baptized? 2. I want to know why there are denominations within Christianity and specifically in Protestantism. 3. There is a Protestant Church in our city (Bangalore, India) that I have been to once. Since I am Hindu now, I feel somewhat weird and a little scared as to how the Pastor and others may feel and react. Is it normal? And what should be my first step towards becoming Christian? 4. How should I pray to Jesus?  I don`t have His photo. Is that required? What is the `method` to pray to Him? 5. Should I change my name on baptism?

Answer Text:  

I am so glad to meet you with your questions.  May the Lord guide you in your desire to be His follower.Before answering your queries, let me just give you a link from where you can read about Anand Mahadevan, Business Editor of Outlook India. Anand published his testimony in the opinion column of their magazine and publicly declared that he is a follower of Christ for the last 15 years, though he was born and brought up in a staunch Brahmin family. This he published at the time when riots were taking place in Orissa last year reconverting Christians into Hinduism. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?238770  . For some reason if you can not open that link, this article is published in Oct.27,2008 issue of Outlook India. It is a must read for you.

Now let me try to answer your questions from No.5-1. Your fifth question was whether you should change your name at baptism. If you have been able to read Anand by now, you would have learnt that he not only did NOT change his name, he did NOT throw away any of the cultural traits which was NOT against the Bible. The Bible does NOT require you to change any thing except your heart. In fact, the Bible asks you to continue in the social and cultural stream where you were at the time of accepting Christ. `Each of you should remain as you were when you accepted God`s call` (1Co 7:20). One of the reasons why Christian faith did NOT impact the high castes of India is that the early missionaries did not remove the offence of the gospel as they preached Christ here. The impression that high caste Indians got was that one should become meat eaters and wine drinkers to become followers of Christ!!  What a tragedy!! I wish you would remain a Brhmin as far as your food habits and other habits which do not go against the gospel. So, please do NOT think of a new name for yourself or a new way of eating or dressing to follow Christ. NO!!

 Now, in your fourth question you asked about praying to Jesus. There is absolutely NO formality at all when it comes to praying to Jesus. Prayer is talking to God. If you want to talk to your friends, you go near or get connected. Like that, if you want to talk to God, go to a quiet place and get connected to Him. The amazing thing is that God has already spoken to us and it is found in the Bible. So when you want to talk to God, first listen to what He has to say by reading the Bible. As you read the Bible desire in your heart to hear the voice of God and tell Him, ` O God, speak to me`. When He speaks to you as you read the Bible, be prepared to do what He says. Then you can open your heart and tell Him every thing as you tell your friend. God`s years are open to our prayers any time. And the first thing we need to get from God is His forgiveness and then invite Jesus to come and live within your heart so that He will live within you.. So, why don’t you go to http://www.4stepstogod.com and pray that prayer at the end of the page from your heart and God will forgive you and Jesus will come to live within your heart. That will get you connected to God through Christ. Now you need to live a thankful life to God and from then on God’s ears will be open to you to listen to all your prayers. You need to pray at least twice daily spending a minimum of half hour each in secret.

Then you asked about the photo of Jesus. We really do NOT have the photo of Jesus. What is circulated as Jesus photo is just imaginary drawing which comes from the middle ages. It is a Catholic invention. Now, I have never seen you. If I draw a face and circulate among friends saying that it is you, how pleased will you be? You would think I am mad. Will you not? Jesus may be thinking the same about those who circulate a picture saying it is His photo. PLEASE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

Your third question is about how Christians react to others coming to church. One of my close friends is Dr. Namboodripad who is a Brahmin convert now in Chennai. He said he walked into a church once just because on the name board it said, `All are welcome`. Though it may not be found written out on the name boards of many churches, the attitude really is the same towards any one who comes to them. So feel absolutely free as you walk in next time. In some churches, strangers are warmly welcomed. Tragically in some churches strangers are ignored. I do not  know what your experience was when you went in once. Try not to choose a large congregation because you get lost in the crowd.  If it is a small Bible lovers’ group, you really get a family atmosphere there and you can get people to pray for you personally which will be one of the greatest assets in your life.

Now, your second question is a very important one about denominations among Christians. Well, I would put it bluntly like this. Christianity is a living organism. New branches are bound to come when the old become lifeless and useless. I think, you got the point. The Bible is our ultimate authority as it is God`s Unchanging Word to man. As days went by, as Christianity became an organized religion when the Roman Emperor Constantine accepted faith with out real repentance in his life, Christianity began to become corrupted. You and I know that Vedic Hinduism has nothing to do with present day practicing Hinduism. But when that happens in Christianity, God raises new people who will go back to the Bible to rediscover its truths. Unfortunately some among Protestants too have grouped themselves under human heads and headquarters with diocese and bishops which are NOT found in the Bible. The NT pattern of church life is NEVER an organized religion. There are several NT patterned churches/assemblies in India and in Bangalore as well. You need to choose one that you think is doing maximum justice to the Bible.

Now, for your first question, I am so excited that you found Christ to be a unique person. In the next one year when you stay with your parents, do every thing possible to get to know the Bible and the truth of the gospel. Baptism is the final step when you publicly declare your faith. Once you do that, it should be a life time commitment. Even death or severest persecution should NOT deter you from your decision. So before you accept baptism, make doubly sure that this is the faith you want to follow till your death. Read your Bible and pray in secret every day. Remain in close contact with the Lord and now that internet facility is there, you can be in link with many practicing believers like you. Meet me in my personal website which is on prayer. www.mathewpaul.org/2008/10/21.beief-testimony  . I do an online Bible study every day at 11 am (IST) and on Thursdays at 8 pm also at http://www.looktojesus.com/chat/study.php?study=4  .  I shall be very happy to be in touch with you and guide you in every step of the way for His glory. God bless.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Christian life

 

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Need for Indian Christian Theology

Question Text :   i  am really  confused about the question raised by our professor in our college  about  the indian christian theology………….  my question is that do we need an indian christian theology in  the indian context if yes  than why do we  need indian chrristian theology  if no than why we  dont need what hermeneutical principle would we apply to follow  to  do so……………..  would  be very happy  if u would please help me to  find out ?

Answer Text :  Though the gospel is the same,  the way it is appreciated and understood is different in different cultures. Jesus came to the world as a Jew and He lived and taught as a Jew. His food and clothing were Jewish. But when that message was to be preached around the world, the Jewish element has to be explained to the hearers so that the message will be understood properly. That is why there are so many commentaries written on the Bible. Otherwise there could be total misunderstanding of the message.

The classical example of this is found in the book ‘Peace Child’ written by Don Richardson. Richardson was a missionary among the cannibalistic Sawi tribe in Indonesia. He learnt their language with much difficulty and when the gospel was preached to the tribe, the people saw Judas as the hero and Jesus was to them a dupe to be laughed at, as deception was the highest virtue in their culture. Richardson was in great difficulty and he was determined to leave the mission field because the tribes were still fighting between them. But because the tribes did not want him to leave, they decided to make peace between them and the way it was done was by exchanging children to the enemies to be looked after. When he saw this he got the clue and he presented the Christ as God’s Son sent to reconcile us to Him. The result was the conversion of the tribes to Christ and the establishment of an indigenous church among them.

One reason why the Gospel did not make head way among Indians is that the early missionaries did not take note of the cultural offenses while they preached to Indians. For example, slaughtering a calf for food is a highly offensive thing here and the Bible translators could have avoided the mention of the calf being slaughtered for food. Instead in that place if they had simply said a grand meal was prepared with out specifically mentioning the slaughter of calf for food, many more Indians would have been willing to read the Bible.

The greatest Indian saint Sadhu Sunder Singh would put this idea in his own words when he said “we need to give the water of life in an Indian vessel”. The core message of the Bible has to taken out and presented it in a way which is understood and appreciated by the indigenous community. In Richardson’s language there will be “redemptive analogies” in each culture and until they are discovered and the gospel presented, it will become an offence to the hearers and they would never be able to appreciate what God has done to redeem this world.

Is there need for an Indian Christian theology? Yes, indeed. Every time the gospel is preached, preachers are using Indian languages, Indian illustrations, Indian cultural traits to make the gospel relevant to the hearers. The gospel makes its head into the community if it is presented in the way appealing to them.

 
 
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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in Bible Questions, Theology

 

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Bible Meddled With?!

Question Text :  they claim the documents are under the archives of the vatican and the church is said to have mixed up and edited that suits their own purposes?

do u think after all they are part of gnosticism?

what will happen just in case if the alleged noto scrolls emerged? will it destroy christianity? will it disprove jesus christ` divinity?

so far as i read the chapters clearly a fake jesus went to india he taught panthesism mixxed with biblical and buddhistic doctrines but more disturbing it stressed man find spirituality and perfection within?

Answer Text : 

Your first question whether the church is said to have mixed up and edited the documents of the NT as we have them today is based on pure misunderstandings about things in the past.  You must remember that the church was a persecuted minority in the Roman empire till Constantine changed his attitude towards the church in the beginning of the 4th century.  It is true that the full Bible as we have it now in manuscript form is found from the 4th century AD.  But there are hundreds of manuscript fragments which confirm the fact that the NT writings, as we have them today,  have NEVER been meddled with at all. Please read about the NT manuscripts in http://biblefacts.org/history/oldtext.html .

http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/papyri_bruce.pdf

Your second question whether they are part of Gnosticism is thoroughly to be thrown out because NT writings are AGAIST Gnostic teachings!  It is true that Gnosticism was prevalent in the NT world and the church had to FIGHT against it for its pure doctrine. And 1John clearly speaks against Gnostic concepts in clearest terms. 

Your question about noto scrolls is interesting, as if one piece of obscure writing could destroy all that was written about Christ and His redeeming work!! You asked whether Christianity could be destroyed.  If it was ever possible for it to be destroyed, it would have been done in the first two centuries of its existence.  If none could do it then, NO FORCE ON EARTH CAN EVER DO IT AS JESUS SAID, “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH”.  Any one who tried to destroy this faith got destroyed themselves eventually.  The last major attempt was done by the Communist regimes and you know what happened.  Let any one else come up.  I guarantee THEIR destruction and NOT the destruction of this faith which is delivered to saints once and for all. 

Dear friend, you asked whether it will disprove the divinity of Jesus.  His divinity does NOT depend on a few manuscripts any where in the world.  It is Eternal, unchallengeable, and unchallenged.  His divinity was made manifest to us mortals by a few parchments.  But it DOES NOT DEPEND ON HUMAN WRITINGS AT ALL.   

Then your last question that some found spirituality and perfection elsewhere is NOT surprising at all.  From time immemorial, the Enemy has been trying to blind the minds of people all over, so that the light of the gospel may not be visible to them.  He has been supplying them with duplicate material all over.  One of the greatest lies of the Devil is Islam where millions are said to have found “spiritual solace”.  Is there any wonder that some find it else where in some other spurious writings?  God bless!!

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in Bible Questions

 

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The Bible on Obedience

Question Text :  What does God say about obedience?

Answer Text :  One of the dictionary definitions of obedience is `humble respect`. God expects man to pay humble respect to all His laws. In fact, the very first sin of humanity was disobedience to the command of God. The word `sin` is a totally misunderstood term. When the Bible says all men are sinners, many are offended at that. When one realizes that the word `sin` in the Bible is a technical term and that it has special meaning attached to it in the Bible, the problem is somewhat solved. For example, the words `bug` and `virus` in a computer textbook are technical terms and they have special meanings attached to them. Unless those meanings are arrived at, one can never comprehend a computer textbook. 1Jn.5:17 defines what the Bible means by the word sin. `All wrongdoing is sin` (RSV).

In simple terms all mistakes are sins. Is there some one out there who has never ever made a mistake in life? The Bible categorizes all spiritual and moral mistakes as sins. If God expects man to obey Him and then when man disobeys, it is a mistake and therefore it is a sin. The Bible could not be clearer when it says, `And Samuel said, `Has the Lord much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed better than fat of rams` (1Sam.15:22). Why is there such an emphasis on obedience in the Bible? Are we to think that God is a cruel despot and He does not want anyone to think or do anything against Him as some people are prone to think? No, never. God is not a cruel despot at all. He is a God of love. Yes, indeed, God is love (1Jn.4:8,16). Why does the loving God expect every one of His creatures to obey Him always? The answer is very simple. Since He is our creator, He knows what is best for us. Psa.103 v.14 puts it so beautifully when it says, `He knows our frame`. He knows what is best for us. He also knows what is going to hurt us. And graciously He has revealed His laws to His people.

The Bible is like an operator’s manual. `He shows His Word to Jacob, His Precepts and His judgments to Israel`(Psa 147:19). He has not done so with any nation; and they have not known His judgments. Praise Jehovah!` (Psa 147:20). And that is why Ezekiel would ask, `Oh, House of Israel, why should you die?` Eze.18:31b). In His sovereign will, God has given man the ability to choose to obey Him or not to obey Him. But when man chooses to disobey Him, God knows it is going to hurt man. When man gets hurt, that is hurting God Himself (Is.63:9). That is why God says, `I have no delight in the death of the wicked` (Eze.18:23).

God hates disobedience and sin as it is going to hurt the sinner. In turn it is going to hurt God Himself. So let us remember that when ever we break a known command of God, we are hurting ourselves and in turn hurting the loving heart of God. Hence the talk about crucifying the Son of God afresh in Heb.6:6.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Bible Questions, Christian life

 

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False Accusations

Question Text :  Someone has made false allegations against me, that has caused me serious trouble. what scriptures can I read that will help me?

Answer Text :  Remember that you are not the only one who was falsely accused. Ps.35:11; Mt.10:25; Lk.7:33f;Jn.15:21; In fact they sought false witnesses against Christ. Mt.26:59,60. So when you are falsely accused, you are privileged to have a share in the afflictions of Christ. Not every one is called up on to suffer this way! How are we to react to this situation? The Bible says `rejoyce` (Mt.5:11). It is pretty hard to do it. But it is a step of faith to rejoyce over an aaffliction (1Pt.4:13). Pepople around you might thiink that you have gone insane! But that is the true reaction God expects of us. Never retaliate (1Pt.2:23) but commit the matter to the One who judges righteously. God`s promises are wonderful. Take hold of them in faith. Pray unceasingly till the Lord intervenes and gives you peace that passeth human understanding. Wait to see in faith the good which is to come out of it all. Read Isa.66:5; 54:17; Ps.34:19;Rom.8:28.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Christian life

 

Christian Bowing Before Idols To Please Others!

Question Text :  hey i`m a teenager who lives in a hindu family. I want to be a christian and i have already accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I confessed that i am a christian to my parents and they are taking it hard. My parents told me that they dont `grant` me to be christian, and i have to bow down to their idols for like 2 sec and they also said that even if i dont believe in the idols i still have to bow down to them. My dad didnt even slap me when i didnt bow down. My dad said he lost hope for me and that his only happiness is that i become of something of myself. It hurts me to see my parents this way. i dont understand what i should do next. Should i still rebel and hurt my parents? Is it right to hurt your parents this way?

Answer Text  :  Hi, I am very proud of your parents. I know parents who disowned their teen aged children for becoming believers in Christ. I know young people made to streets,the only crime being their faith in Christ. So, to begin with you should thank God for your loving parents who are still willing to keep you at home and consider you as their child.  Be doubly obedient to your parents in ALL matters except in this matter.

Now the words of Christ are crystal clear. No one can ever misunderstand these words. He says, `If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he can not be my disciple`(Lk.14:26). `Hate` in this passage does not mean animosity to our loved ones. It means when it comes to choosing between them and Christ, we have no option at all. Either you choose your parents or you choose Christ.

Children are asked to obey thier parents `in the Lord` (Eph.6:1). When parents are against you obeying the Lord, you must choose to obey the Lord only at whatever cost. I am sure that you are an obedient child to your parents in all matters. Now that you have become a child of God, you need to be doubly obedient and loving to your parents. Let them notice a real love in your heart and life for them.

Do not bow to idols. If you do bow before the idol, remember that you are breaking a clear command of the Scriptures. As never before, go out of your way and be obedient and helpful to your parents in all areas of your life except in this matter. Surely they will notice this in your life sooner than later.

Peter tells believing wives to win their unbelieving husbands by their lives and without words(1Pt.3:1-2). This is exactly what is required of you. Now, I want to tell you some thing which is absolutely true according to the Scripture. The Scripture promises that by your faith, eventually you can save your family too (Acts.16:31).

Do you know that there is one prayer for which God will never say `NO` to? That is, if you pray for the salvation of someone whom you love, God will never say `No` to that prayer. Because according to 1Jn.5:14 prayers in the will of God can not go unanswered. And God is not willing that any should perish(1Tim.2:4; 2Pt.3:9)! It may take a little time. But it all depends simply upon your fervancy in your prayer (Js.5:16b).

So, be a doubly obedient and loving child in your family. Only in the matter of faith be stern and disobey them, but do it politely. I am sure your parents will soon become believers themselves due to your changed life and your secret prayers on their behalf. May God bless you, dear child!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in Christian life

 

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