Ask Dr. E – Episode 2

Do you have to believe in hell to be a Christian? Are non-believers given an opportunity to trust Christ after death? What about people who never hear the name of Jesus? Does the book of Leviticus apply to our lives today? How could Jesus forgive sins before dying on the cross? Are generational curses real and how do we fight Satan and his demons? You asked. Dr. E answered.

Have a biblical or theological question for Dr. E? Call him at 615-281-9694.

Show Notes:

1:35I would think there are certain beliefs you have to have to truly be a genuine believer in Christ. One has come up recently that some of my dear Christian friends seem to be taken with and that is that they don’t believe there is a literal hell. I’m glad to be in Christ and saved from hell and I can’t understand not believing in that, and I think that would change a few things in life – maybe how you look at sin – so I just wanted your thoughts.

The gospel, to begin with, is Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection. Paul in Galatians and 1 Corinthians 15 is very clear about these elements.

The Gospel is the good news of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The man or women who puts their trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, I call that the benchmark. Putting our faith in Christ to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. That’s the gospel.

Now, as we grow in Christ, we’re going to learn.

Salvation is the faith benchmark, sanctification is the process of faith.

We come to faith, and we live faithfully. What you’re referring to is annihilationism. John Stott is a tremendous author who, later in life, became and annihilationist. As many of these leaders go, his or her followers may go with them. I don’t think annihilationism is what scripture teaches. Luke 16:19-31

 

If a person believes that [annihilationism], are they a Christian? I can’t say yes, and I can’t say no. I can say they are confused in their view of heaven and hell.

We should be careful not to confuse growth issues with salvation issues.

If you can do this in a “let’s learn together way,” when this comes up amongst friends, read revelation 20:10 I believe men and women are eternal. God’s not going to annihilate an eternal being. So when we die, we are either fit for eternity with Him, or apart from Him. We must remember that our authority is not our experience; our authority is the Word of God.

 

15:11I’m stuck in Leviticus chapters 10 and 11: what should my takeaway be?

Resource cited: Holiness to the Lord, Allen Ross.

The whole depiction of sacrifice was that something had to die in our place for our sin.

Leviticus is the description and prescription for how to offer sacrifices and worship God. In this specific passage, there’s a number of things going on. Aaron’s sons have been struck dead because they were behaving outside the instructions of the Lord.

In the New Testament, our sanctification calls for us to conduct ourselves in a proper light. When we do things wrong, we need to acknowledge that and approach God the right way. Think about the Lord’s table. We can become too colloquial with our God and I think one of the lessons is: God is holy.

23:38Is there an opportunity after death for non-believers or those of other faiths to come to faith in Christ?

This idea appeals to our horizontal view of Christianity, but in Hebrews 9:27 scripture is clear that we have all of this life to respond to the offer of salvation.

What about those who have never heard the name of Jesus in their entire life, birth to death?

A number of passages referred to as ontological arguments teach that God has revealed Himself in the hearts of men and in all of creation. Romans 1-2, Psalm 19

Intelligence comes from intelligence.

You could run a thousand tornados through a thousand junkyards for a thousand years and never come up with a 727 – there is design involved. There is an intelligence. God would never “relegate” someone to hell if they never had an opportunity to believe.

 

30:42Jesus forgave two people in the Bible before He went to the Cross – what gave Him the power to forgive sin before He went to the Cross?

Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness — when we understand how Paul explains this, its that righteousness was credited to him.

He believed God, and God said, “you’re saved,” and that’s Paul’s theology of the Old Testament: They come to salvation by faith, and the intrinsic piece is forgiveness.

 

33:33I recently came across a study called “breaking the bonds of familiar spirits” and I wanted to see what your knowledge is on this. It seems a lot of scripture that I’ve found speaks about sorcery, divination, etc. or people talking about experiences where there could be curses in their family or generational addictions, a few different things there, at first I hadn’t heard this term before so I wanted to figure out what scripture actually says about this?

“The sins of the father” is an interesting phrase. I have been part of groups that have prayed to break the bonds of addictions or generational sin, but I think that’s a misunderstanding of this passage.

A person who grows up in an abusive home tends to marry an abusive person. Let’s think about this practically: if abuse is all you’ve known, that choice makes sense. It’s an unconscious awareness of what we’re doing.

Consequences of our sins certainly impact our family systems. Where I differ is going back and somehow praying away spirits of deceit or bondage that somehow my children are entrapped in because I struggled with a sin.

There are natural, theological implications of a person that’s struggled with addiction, abusive relationships, fill in the blank that will affect us as a family system – that said, we’re free agents.

Some of us didn’t grow up in Christian homes and came to Christ.

Some of us grew up in Christian homes and didn’t come to Christ.

You and I stand on our own two feet before God. I don’t want to be unkind, but I think it’s a convenient thing to blame my “bondage” on somebody else. I need to own my sin.

Maturity is when you stop blaming your past, own your present, and plan your future.

No matter how I was reared or what hard things happened to me, that’s the past, and no amount of apology is going to take away that injury. So, as an adult, I’ve got to own my present.

We are new creations in Christ Jesus: 2 Corinthians 5:17

Deuteronomy 13 gives specific laws about dealing with people who practice divination or sorcery. The text says to kill those people, so clearly God didn’t toy around with these things. In a New Testament mindset and with the understanding of God’s permanently indwelling Spirit, I think we are all oppressed by things we did as children or young adults or young Christians.

But I would say you are only influenced by Satan and his minions as far as you let him. He can’t force us. If the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, I just don’t think He’s going to allow that believer to be harassed.

Let’s cling to Christ, He does a better job of dealing with oppressions than we do. 

Have a biblical or theological question for Dr. E? Call him at 615-281-9694.

Michael Easley

About Michael Easley

Michael is husband to one, dad to four, and host of Michael Easley inContext.



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