Monday, February 29, 2016

Why Are You A Christian? Why Am I A Christian?

            Have you ever wondered why you are a Christian?

            If you have not, then please take a few moments off now to consider an answer to this question. This is a significant question, for your answer should be credible.

            Let’s consider some answers to this question:

I Don’t Know

            ‘I don’t know why I am a Christian. I have not thought about that.’

            ‘But why haven’t you thought about it?’

            ‘I don’t know, I did not think about it.’

            If you seriously confess that you do not know why you are Christian, then it certainly is the most honest admission of ignorance. Your heart is not calloused. This is a good starting point, provided you get on the right track as soon as possible.  

I Don’t Care

            ‘I don’t care why I am a Christian. I am a busy person and I do not have the time to think about these trivial matters.’

            If you don’t care about your Christianity, you are quite possibly living dangerously. The danger is that you MAY not even be a Christian to begin with.

            You are neither giving a right or a wrong answer when you say that you do not care as to why you are a Christian. The answer that you do not care is nonsensical, for it seems that you do not possess the ability to state either the right or even the wrong answer!

            Significantly, by stating that you do not care about your faith, you have judged your religion to be a trivial aspect of your life and you have buried God into insignificance. This is a sin against God. You have not accorded God HIS rightful preeminent place in your life. When we sin against God, we are living dangerously.  

            1 Peter 3:15 mandates us to offer the reason for our hope in Christ. If we do not care about our hope in Christ, we disobey this mandate and hence we sin against God.

            It’s ok if you do not know why you are a Christian. But it is not ok if you do not care as to why you are a Christian.

            In response to the question, why are you a Christian, many Christians offer these reasons:

I Believe the Bible

            “I am a Christian because I believe the Bible.”

            You may say that you are a Christian because you have read the Bible and believe its content. But a Muslim says that he has read the Quran and believes its content. A Mormon would say the same about his Scripture.

            What makes your belief in the Bible unique or better than that of the Muslim or the Mormon?

            You may say that the Bible is God’s word, but isn’t that what a Muslim or a Mormon say too? How do you know that the Bible is God’s Word? You cannot say that the Bible is God’s word because the Bible says so, for that is an invalid argument.

I am My Father’s Son

            “I am a Christian because my parents are Christians.”

            Alternately you may say that you are a Christian because you were raised in a Christian home. This answer may sound correct, but it is not correct. Why?

            If you are a Christian because your parents are, then by the same logic, a Muslim born in a Muslim home or an atheist born into an atheistic household would be justified to be a Muslim or an atheist, respectively.

            If our religious identity is predicated on the religious identity of our parents, then our parents seem to determine our religion. If parents determine the child’s religion, then parents are of a greater value than the truthfulness of the religion.

            So this is another wrong answer. Our response to the one, true and a living God, not our parents, should determine our religion.

I Experienced God

            “God drew me closer to HIM, hence I am Christian.”

            An alternate rendering of this reason is to say that you became a Christian when your friend introduced you to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ while you were living a godless life. Christ then spoke to you and hence you are Christian.

            This sounds like a correct answer, but your answer could be disputed. Non-Christians, with the exception of certain worldviews e.g. pantheism, do not believe that Christ is God. Moreover, there are similar testimonies in the other religions about God speaking to man e.g. Islam, Church of Latter Day Saints etc.

            In other words, what makes your testimony better or more truthful than the testimony of your non-Christian friend? If the reason to your Christianity is as stated above, then your testimony, in itself, is neither bulletproof nor more truthful than the testimony of your non-Christian friend.


            None of the above can convince your non-Christian friend from the perspective of the credibility of Christianity or bringing him/her closer to Christ.

            How then could you establish credibility for your faith with your answer that would bring a non-Christian closer to Christ?

Christianity Is True

            “I am a Christian because Christianity is true.” 

            If Christianity is not true, then your experience of God and your testimony are false. If Christianity is not true, then your parents led you into a false religion. If Christianity is not true, then the Bible you read is a false document.

            Every reason you may offer for your Christianity is predicated on the fact that Christianity is true. If you cannot posit reasonable evidences for the truthfulness of Christianity, then you would be unable to offer a sound reason for your hope in Christ.

            When we claim Christianity’s truthfulness, we are positing objective truth i.e. Christianity is true whether anyone believes or not. While we posit objective truth, we negate subjective truth-claims i.e. Christianity is true for you and Buddhism is true for me. Therefore, if Christianity is true, all other religious worldviews are false.

            Reasonable evidences can be posited for Christianity’s truth-claims from the domains of history, philosophy, science and logic. The scope of this short essay is not to present these evidences but merely to assert the presence of very reasonable evidences for the objective truth-claims of Christianity.

            These are some public domain websites that offer the much needed evidences:

            Dr. William Lane Craig’s

            Dr. John Lennox’s

            J. Warner Wallace’s

            Greg Koukl’s

            Dr. Frank Turek’s

            Dr. Timothy McGrew’s

            Dr. Edward Feser’s

            Christian Apologetics Alliance’s

            Dr. Ravi Zacharias’

            Southern Evangelical Seminary’s Veritas Player!/ses-apologetics-app

            Are we aware of these evidences? If not, please dig deep to know why Christianity is true.  


I was inspired to write this short essay after hearing Brett Kunkle’s podcast, Why I am A Christian?”

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ungracious Christians

            Philip Yancey, in his classic “What's So Amazing About Grace?” describes ungraciousness as, “Ungrace does its work quietly and lethally, like a poisonous, undetectable gas. A father dies unforgiven. A mother who once carried a child in her own body does not speak to that child for half its life. The toxin steals on, from generation to generation.” Around us, ironclad in their pristine saintly attire, are ungracious Christians.

            A pastor requested prayer for an 80 year old pastor who was beaten up. Instead of sympathizing or offering his prayer support, a Christian responded by asking if the beaten up pastor was living a good Christian life or not.

            Isn’t it fascinating that we love to judge the spirituality of our fellow Christians? We are experts in ignoring the plank firmly lodged in our own eye while we rabidly bark at the speck in our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).

            How quickly do we forget that grace is the spirit of Christianity!

            If not for God’s grace, we would be doomed to eternal dungeon. Christ is the embodiment of grace and Christians are called to be Christlike – to be loving and gracious to each other.  

            If grace is at the heart of Christianity, why do Christians morph into ungracious beings to irrationally judge their fellow brother and sister? Who is responsible for this malady in Christendom?

            But unjust judgment and harsh condemnation is common in Christianity. The Bible amplifies this predicament. Even the Lord was not spared. Christ was condemned by the religious leaders.

            Philip Yancey, in “What's So Amazing About Grace?” captures this thought wonderfully, “Having spent time around "sinners" and also around purported saints, I have a hunch why Jesus spent so much time with the former group: I think he preferred their company. Because the sinners were honest about themselves and had no pretense, Jesus could deal with them. In contrast, the saints put on airs, judged him, and sought to catch him in a moral trap. In the end it was the saints, not the sinners, who arrested Jesus.”

            The religious leaders condemned Christ because they assumed greater knowledge. They not only assumed greater knowledge, but they believed that their knowledge was inerrant and infallible. Those religious leaders were proud and egotistic.

            Spiritual pride is the cause for ungracious and judgmental attitude. The super-spiritual Christian basking in spiritual pride thinks more highly of himself than he ought to (cf. Romans 12:3). When sober judgment of oneself is eclipsed by spiritual pride, he condemns his neighbor at every given opportunity.

            Recently I had the privilege of hearing a friend tell me that she lives a perfect Christian life. I was shocked to hear this statement from an ostensibly spiritually mature woman, who is well respected in her church.

            Did she not read her Bible that says that there is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10) or that “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1: 8-10, NIV). These super-spiritual Christians think that they do not and cannot commit sin.  

            This super spiritual Christian forgets that it is because of God’s grace that he is able to live a righteous life. In this context, he forgets two very important aspects.

            First, his life is a gracious gift from God. Because God offers him life, he is able to live righteously.

            Second, this person is able to live a righteous life because God has placed a fence of protection around his life (cf. Job 1:10). If God had allowed Satan to inflict veridical damage upon this person’s life, this person, even if he had genuinely lived a righteous life, could have suffered under people around him. They could have suspected him of some offense or the other. They would have then showered inordinate malice upon him.

            So the so-called super spiritual Christian cannot be super-spiritual if not for God’s grace. Although he is a product of God’s grace, he remains ungracious to his brethren.

            Who is responsible for this malady?

            There is no dearth of sermons on living a Christian life. The church should not be blamed for emphasizing a holy lifestyle, for Christians cannot be hypocrites. But when we meagerly succeed at living a morally upright life, we, with all guns blazing, condemn sinful people.

            How often do you hear sermons on being gracious to your sinful neighbors? For every sermon about living a Christian life, there should be ten sermons about being a gracious Christian. This is the responsibility of the church.

            The church should take responsibility for the prevalent malady of spiritual pride.

            Being gracious is not to approve the sins of our neighbors. Grace does not encourage sins (cf. Romans: 1-2).

            But God loved us while we were unrepentant sinners (cf. Romans 5:8). So we should love our neighbors while they remain unrepentant.

            How can we share the love of Christ if we do not love our neighbors? Would our neighbors be receptive to a gospel message from people who disrespectfully condemn their sinful lifestyle?

            There is a huge disparity between disapproving a sinful lifestyle and disrespectfully condemning a sinful lifestyle. A sinful lifestyle can be lovingly disapproved.  Condemnation is usually accompanied by hatred towards the person committing the sin.

            If a friend lives a blatantly sinful life, we should continue our friendship with him. We should be kind to him and his family, encourage him in his other noble endeavors, visit, dine with him etc. Yet we should lovingly disapprove of his sinful lifestyle and try to gently talk him out of that sinful lifestyle.

            Christ did not crucify the woman who was caught in adultery. HE empathized with her and lovingly counseled her to not sin. Christ did not disassociate HIMSELF from sinners but HE entered their homes and fellowshipped with them.

            Condemnation raises its ugly hood when our friend commits a sin. We immediately break our friendship with him and vilify him in public and private. This is not an appropriate Christian practice.              

            Here is an intriguing factor while we criticize our fellow Christians, which is wonderfully revealed in the Bible.

            On one hand, Christians are capable of glorifying the blatantly sinning Christian. As a case in point, the Corinthian church was proud of their member who was sleeping with his father’s wife (1 Corinthians 5: 1-2).

            On the other hand, Christians could condemn those who may outwardly appear as sinners but who are faithfully living a holy life, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’” (Matthew 11: 18-19, NIV).

            If Christ the Lord and John the Baptist were victims to such condemnation, what prevents you and me from being condemned? Persecution is native to Christianity.  

            We will be condemned by our own family. Our dearest friends would flee from us when we are in difficult situations. When we stand for the Lord and HIS word, we will be condemned and persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). But let us continue to remain in the Lord, love and obey HIM despite the harsh condemnation from our fellow Christians.

            How do we remain gracious?            

            Step into the shoes of those who need grace. First, judge ourselves with a sober judgment. We are as much as a sinner as he is.

            Second, consider our neighbors at par with us or better than us. If we are no greater than him, we have no business to venomously judge him. Instead, love him just as God loves him and us.  

            We will be gracious if we are humble. The fast track to humility is to experience soul-wrenching pain. Unless we experience soul-wrenching pain, it is very difficult for us to remain humble.

            If a friend or an acquaintance asks you for prayer either pray or don’t pray. It is even acceptable if you do not pray, for God will care for HIS people. But please do not insult either the person asking for prayer or the person to be prayed for.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

What Is Heaven Like?

            We care much about any new purchase. If we are to buy a house, we will spend days, if not months, to learn more about the house. We will not ignore any known aspect of the house. We endeavor to learn almost everything about the house before we commence our life in it.

            We leave no stone unturned while studying about our new home on earth. Similarly let us leave no stone unturned before we commence our life in heaven.

Heaven Dwellers

            Heaven is God’s abode; apart from the triune God, good angels and the redeemed humans from all ages live in heaven (Matthew 6:9, 18: 10; Luke 2: 15; John 14:2-3, 6: 51; Romans 8: 34; Revelation 1: 4, 4: 4-6, 7: 9).

            Although the heaven is God’s abode, God is not localized to heaven but indeed omnipresent (1 Kings 8: 27; Psalms 139: 7 - 9).

Nature of Heaven

            There is no death, sorrow or sickness in heaven (Revelation 21: 4; 2 Corinthians 1: 4-5).

            There is no curse (Revelation 22: 3).

            Heaven is a place of abundant life and joy (John 10:10; Revelation 22: 1-2 cf. Psalm 16: 11; Luke 15: 10).

            There is perpetual worship and service in heaven (Revelation 4:8, 5:13-14, 22:3).

            We will be perfect in heaven – in body, in morality, in knowledge (Philippians 3: 21; 1 Corinthians 13: 9-12, 15: 51-53; Revelation 21: 27).

            There will be heavenly homes, mansions and palaces (John 14: 1-3).

            We will be reunited with our loved ones in heaven (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18).

            Heaven is a place of eternal rest and eternal reward (Revelation 14:13, 22:12; Hebrews 4: 9)

            Heaven will be exceptionally beautiful and indescribably glorious (1 Corinthians 2: 9; Revelation 21: 18-21; Romans 8:18; Ezekiel 1:13).

            Heaven is an eternal or everlasting or an endless abode. Heaven will not cease to exist (Titus 1: 2; Matthew 25: 46).  

Greatest Reward in Heaven

            No one can see God in this time and age (John 1:18). So seeing God face-to-face is the greatest reward in heaven. When we are in heaven, we can see God face-to-face (1 Corinthians 13: 12; Revelation 22: 4). What more do we need than to see God and be in HIS holy and glorious presence through all eternity!

            Theologians term this face-to-face experience with God as the “Beatific Vision.” Seeing God face-to-face offers the believers:

            1. Perfect knowledge of God (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13: 9-10).

            2. Permanent state of perfection. Just as God is a permanent or a changeless state of perfection, salvation from sin would rescue the believers from any damage caused by sin, thereby rendering a permanent state of perfection.

            3. An impossibility to sin; sight of an infinitely good God will render sin as an impossibility while in a state of perfection.  

New Heaven and New Earth

            Revelation 21: 1-4 teaches that after believers’ resurrection and attaining glorious bodies, heaven will descend on earth in the form of the New Jerusalem, “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” This new heaven, our eternal abode, will have foundations, gates and dimensions.

Will Infants Who Die Go to Heaven?

            Yes. 2 Samuel 12: 23 offers a crucial insight to answer this question, for David says that his deceased infant son would go to heaven, “But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” Since infants do not possess the ability to either accept or reject Christ, we believe that deceased infants would go to heaven.

Will There Be Babies & Old People in Heaven?

            No. Heaven is a place of perfection, whereas babies, who are stunted in growth and of less maturity, do not possess perfect body or mind. Old people similarly are not in a perfect state of health in body and mind. Moreover, since all believers would have a perfect glorious body in heaven, this perfect and glorious body would neither be too young or too old but an appropriate age as God has determined.

Will Everyone Be Equally Blessed in Heaven?

            No. Not everyone would be equally blessed. Believers would be rewarded differently in heaven based on their love for God and their obedience to HIM while on earth (Matthew 16: 27; Luke 19: 17-19; 1 Corinthians 3: 11-15). Those with greater love and obedience for the Lord would receive greater reward in heaven.

Will We Recognize Loved Ones in Heaven?

            Yes. Peter acknowledged Moses and Elijah by name on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17: 1-4). Paul implied this in his encouragement of Thessalonians (4: 13-18).

Will We Eat in Heaven?

            Yes. Perfect and glorious bodies need not be nourished. However, we will eat for pleasure and not for necessity (cf. Matthew 26: 29).  

Will There Be Sex in Heaven?

            No. There would be no marriage, sexual intercourse or procreation in heaven (Matthew 22: 30). State of perfection eliminates sexual desires. 

Will We Continue to Learn and Morally Improve in Heaven?

            No. Heaven is not a place for progress, but perfection (1 Corinthians 13: 2). Heaven is not a place for striving, but an abode of rest (John 9: 4; Revelation 14: 13).

            When we are in the presence of God and when we see HIM face-to-face, we would no longer be learning but we would be perpetually worshipping.  

Will We Experience Time in Heaven?

            Time is a measurement of change i.e. before and after or past, present and future. In heaven there would be no change because heaven is a place of perfection. There need be no change in perfection.

            If perfection changes, it ought to be a change for the better or worse. But we cannot be better than perfect and perfection cannot lose its state in the absence of an agent that could destroy perfection, namely Satan.

            Therefore, our state in heaven will be like that of the angels, who are not in time by nature but can be related to it by activity.

Will There Be Animals in Heaven?

            The metaphors of peace employed in the Bible about the peaceful coexistence of lion and the lamb under the rule of God and the metaphor of eternal life in the description of the tree of life could imply the existence of plants and animals in heaven.

            But would our very own pets be in heaven with us? I have no idea! But then it cannot be negated with certainty, for recreating our pets is not impossible with God.


            We live in an evil world. Corruption is in every sphere of our life. Pain and suffering is evident in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Innocent people are massacred and maimed, both physically and emotionally.

            Our great desire is for the world to be a better place. But there is no restoration in sight until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to eliminate evil once and for all.

            Given the undesirable nature of our present life and the most desirable life in heaven, everyone would love to be in heaven. But the Bible unequivocally teaches that only those who believe and remain in Christ would be in heaven.

            So if you do not believe the Lord Jesus Christ, it is my prayer that you would love and believe the God who unconditionally loves you even when you do not believe in HIM. May your life be surrendered to Christ and may we cohabit in heaven with God forever and ever. Amen.


            Much of the information presented in this essay is sourced from Dr. Norman Geisler’s work: “Systematic Theology, Volume Four: Church, Last Things.”        

Monday, February 8, 2016

Why The Hell

            It’s no surprise that many people hate hell. Nobody loves punishment!   

            Hell is synonymous with evil, because hell is the abode of those who reject the one true and living God. Those who reject God are, by nature and in essence, evil. They are evil since they have not repented of their sins, so their sins are unforgiven.

            Heaven and hell are consequences for man’s life on earth.  If there’s no hell, people can do what they want and how they want. Those who do not want consequences for their actions hate hell.

            It doesn’t matter whether we like or hate hell. If it is there, it is there.

            Why the hell? Instead of asking “why should there be a hell?” we could ask “what would happen if there is no hell?”

            So if there is no hell, there would be…

No Punishment & No Justice

            Hell is the perfect punishment for evil. Since evil exists, punishment should prevail. If there is no hell, there will be no perfect punishment for evil.

            Human justice system is not omniscient. So some offenders will always escape the clutches of the human justice system. Moreover, corruption is rampant everywhere, and that includes the human justice system. Corruption entails that innocent could be punished and the guilty go scot-free.

            Whatever the case may be, lack of punishment is effectively the lack of justice. How can there be justice when evil people go unpunished and innocent people suffer?

            Therefore, if there is no hell, evil would remain unpunished. Hence there would be no justice.

Sovereignty of Evil

            Evil people prosper in this time and age (cf. Psalm 73: 3). If evil people prosper, the weak and innocent would suffer deeply.

            The movie “Purge” depicts a synopsis of a world where evil rules the good for a brief period of time. One day in a year is earmarked to “purge.” There would be no consequence for crimes (evil) that day. People could go berserk and unleash evil for 12 hours on that day where all crime is legal. Purge was a vent to unleash one’s concealed evil into the world and a means to an artificial population control.

            During “purge,” evil is sovereign. This would be the perpetual state of the world if there is no hell.

            When evil rules, evil would be the superior moral. If there is no consequence for evil deeds i.e. if there is no hell, good cannot be the superior moral (good need not be stronger than evil). If evil rules over good, evil would be the sole standard for life. Hence evil will pulverize the good.    

Amoral World

            Evil rules when there is no punishment. If evil is sovereign, this world would be amoral (evil would be the only superlative moral). Wouldn’t morality cease when the right-wrong moral distinction is erased?   

            For the sake of this discussion let us categorize evils as lesser and greater. The lesser evils could be gossips, jealousy, bad temper leading to minor offenses, rivalry, factions, party-spirit, and envy.

            The greater evils could be the horrendous evils. Christian philosopher and priest, Marilyn McCord Adams lists horrendous evils, “…the rape of a woman and axing off of her arms, psychophysical torture…betrayal of one’s deepest loyalties, cannibalizing one’s own offspring, child abuse…child pornography, parental incest, slow death by starvation, participation in the Nazi death camps, the explosion of nuclear bombs over populated areas, having to choose which of one’s children shall live and which will be executed by terrorists…I regard these as paradigmatic, because I believe most people would find in the doing or suffering of them prima-facie reason to doubt the positive meaning of their lives. …” 1

            Predicated on the fact that life is more valuable than materials, it might be of less significance to the victim and the society if a thief who robbed a pen was not convicted of his crime. But it is of a great significance if a murderer of a child remains unpunished for his crime. 

            The thief who habitually steals pens could progressively deteriorate into robbing millions. During this progressive deterioration, the thief could also become a killer. Thus the possibilities for the lesser evil to transform into greater evil are endless.

            What prevents a man from committing petty crimes when evil rules? Man, on an average, may not commit horrendous evils always. But man is totally susceptible to committing the lesser evils such as, sexual immorality, gossips, quarrelling, jealousy, rivalry, factions, party-spirit, and envy, which in turn could lead to horrendous evils.

            The lesser evils would also increase in intensity and magnitude. When lesser evils increase, the society would be exceedingly volatile. Living under these conditions would be unbearable. In other words, we would be living in an amoral world under constant suffering.

            If evil rules, violence would be rampant and peace would cease, for the world we live in would be amoral.

God’s Non-Existence

            A world without hell could only be postulated under the condition that God does not exist i.e. an atheistic paradigm. It is very reasonable for evil to prosper and justice and peace to be non-existent in the atheistic worldview.

            The atheistic paradigm would not (or cannot) offer any reasonable or logical answers to the problem of evil. Such is the moral bankruptcy of atheism.

            Ask an atheist to explain the presence of evil. More often than not, they would quote Richard Dawkins in his work “River Out of Eden” and say “there is no such thing as evil.”

            Mind you, it is Dawkins and his followers who brand the God of the Bible as evil. On one hand they say that there is no evil, but on the other hand they contradict their statement that there is no evil to assert that the God of the Bible is evil.

            God forbid, if a calamity befalls these atheists, who claim that there is no evil, would they enjoy their calamity or suffer through it in pain and tears? Evidently, no sane human would enjoy evil but only suffer through it in pain and tears, for pain is inherent in evil.

            So an atheist who denies God’s existence will deny evil and will deny hell. He has no other option. So if there is no hell, there is no god.


            If there is no hell, then:

            1. Evil would be unpunished.

            2. Evil would be sovereign (rule over good).

            3. World would be amoral.

            4. There should be no God (for hell is only plausible if God exists).

            But this is the existential reality. Sovereignty is singular. There cannot be two sovereign beings i.e. two maximally great beings. When a being is sovereign, all other beings are subjugated.

            We are not living in a world where evil is sovereign. We are living in a world where God is sovereign. Although Satan is the temporary ruler of this world, the sovereign God is in total control.

            We know that God is in total control since our world is not amoral. There are punishments for evils. Evil does not rule over good.  

            Good still rules over evil. This is precisely why a good number of people enjoy a rather peaceful existence. The presence of God entails peace.

            God has temporarily allowed evil to reign. But HE has assured us that not a hair from our head will perish.

            God is good. God does not tolerate evil.

            If we repent of our sins, believe and remain in the Lord and Savior Christ, we will be saved. Those who do not believe in Christ remain evil, since their sins remain unforgiven because of their conscious rejection of Christ.

            Such an evil person sins against an infinite God. Sins against an infinite God mandate an infinite punishment in the form of hell. Hell then is the eternal abode of all those who reject Christ.

            In case you have not received Christ yet, please pray and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your God and savior. I pray that you repent of your sins and ask Christ to forgive you. The merciful and loving Lord will forgive you and you will be with God forever and ever. I pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.


1Marilyn McCord Adams, “Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God,” The Problem of Evil (ed. Marilyn McCord Adams and Robert Merrihew Adams, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 211-12.

Monday, February 1, 2016

I Don’t Speak In Tongues, Am I A Christian?

            There are essential and fringe doctrines in Christianity. According to Dr. Norman Geisler, essential doctrines should be connected to our salvation and its connection to our salvation must be crucial, for without that connection, our salvation should be impossible.1 Fringe doctrines are not connected to our salvation.

            We can agree to disagree on the fringe doctrines. But we cannot compromise on the essential doctrines.

            This is not as simple as it appears to be. The complication arises if and when fringe doctrines are interpreted as essential.

            Speaking in tongues (glossolalia) is considered as a fringe doctrine by some Christian denominations. These denominations consider the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues as a gift from God and not as a sign of God’s approval of the believer’s authenticity.

            Conversely, a few denominations consider speaking in tongues as an essential demonstration of salvation i.e. if a believer is saved, then he/she should speak in tongues, “WE BELIEVE... The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ as experienced on the Day of Pentecost and referenced throughout Acts and the Epistles.”2

            This then is the problem to contend with. If a genuine Christian is defined as the one who speaks in tongues, then would those who do not speak in tongues be considered as not genuine? If they are not genuine, would they not gain salvation?

            Those who consider speaking in tongues as a mandatory manifestation of the Holy Spirit receive their affirmation from the Bible. But if the very same Bible stipulates that all Christians need not necessarily speak in tongues, then this problem could be resolved.

            So let us consider some verses from the Bible:

            1. The Holy Spirit sovereignly determines the recipients of the spiritual gifts (e.g. gift of tongues), “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines(1 Corinthians 12: 11, NIV, Emphasis Mine). Spiritual gifts are not rewards to those who seek or qualify for them.

            2. No one gift is for everyone and no one person has every gift, “…God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts…” (1 Corinthians 12: 28-31, NIV). The implied answer to each of these questions, which includes the question on tongues, is “no.”

            3. Believers are to seek the spiritual gift of prophecy or that of interpreting the tongues than merely speaking in tongues, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy...For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say” (1 Corinthians 14: 1 & 13, NIV).

            Those that mandate speaking in tongues in public (during the worship service) encourage believers to seek that spiritual gift. There are curriculums to speak in tongues in some churches.

            Conversely, the Bible teaches that speaking in tongues but without interpreting it merely edifies the person who speaks in tongues. Instead, speaking in tongues and interpreting it is to be greatly desired in the worship service.

            4. Love is to be greatly desired than any spiritual gift, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3, NIV).

            5. Tongues without interpretation is not meant for the worship service, but meant for private prayer purposes only, “If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God” (1 Corinthians 14: 27-28, NIV).

            These verses certainly demonstrate that the Scripture does not command all Christians to exclusively seek the gift of speaking in tongues. Therefore, it is a perfectly acceptable scenario for Christians to not speak in tongues. Significantly, the Bible’s emphasis is on God who bestows these spiritual gifts than those who receive the spiritual gifts.

            It would be unwise to think that only a few speak in tongues. The Bible teaches that speaking in tongues edifies the person speaking in tongues. Therefore, it is possible that the Holy Spirit could have given the gift of speaking in tongues to many.

            A mandate to speak in tongues seems to provide an instance of Christian denominations jostling for spiritual superiority over their counterparts. Alternatively, these denominations may be incorrectly interpreting the Bible. This seems to be a minor concern in Christianity, for it is better to seek the spiritual gifts, than not.

            On a side note, it is wiser to not ridicule those who speak in tongues, although some instances of speaking in tongues appear as a fake - repetitive utterances of only a few syllables fall under this category. If we ridicule, we could run the risk of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit of God.

            Whatever the case may be, I personally reckon that an initiative to desire for the spiritual gifts is better than not desiring for spiritual gifts.  But the big question is do we eagerly desire the spiritual gifts?


Websites referenced were last accessed on 1st February 2016.